The Joy of Eating Greens

The Health Benefits of Eating Dark Leafy Greens

“You be a good little giant and eat your trees,” are words almost all parents have said to encourage their children to eat their broccoli, and other greens. As adults, the pleasure of eating dark green vegetables needs no convincing. We all know that that broccoli, kale, spinach, chard, asparagus, fresh herbs, fresh beans and peas are full of nutrients and goodness.

Vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals

There are few foods that are richer in vitamins and minerals than dark, leafy green vegetables. Vitamins C, A and K combine with folate and the minerals potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium are contained in one serving. Together, these nutrients work to prevent some forms of cancer, heart disease and insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes).

Indulge as much as you like

Greens are so low in calories that taking a second helping will not be considered “cheating” on your diet. Just reduce any oil or butter and season liberally with vinegars, citrus juices, and fresh herbs to taste.

Inventive ways to get more greens

Greens are often seen as a side dish or starter, but they can be at the centre of a healthy and satisfying main course.

For breakfast: A triple decker herbed plate

Dress a plate with a selection of raw kale and/or spinach leaves, basil, parsley and tomato slices. Top that with a slice of toast and top with a soft-boiled egg. Season with salt and pepper and serve. When eaten with a knife and fork, the meal is as satisfying as eggs benedict.

For lunch: Spinach vichyssoise

This traditional spinach, leek and potato soup is served cold as refreshing but hearty nourishment on hot summer days.  Using butter to tame the texture of the leek and milk to meld with the potatoes smooth out the spinach into a blend of green goodness that cannot be matched.

For dinner: Roasted broccoli with garlic & red pepper

We all know steamed broccoli and broccoli stir-fried with beef or chicken in pepper sauce, but roasted broccoli is the latest and greatest food fashion. Just remember to serve it immediately after it comes out of the oven to preserve all the variations of texture.

For snack time: Kale chips

Kale chips are hipster favourites, but don’t let that scare you off. They are just kale leaves cut into bite-sized pieces that are massaged in a mix of olive oil and salt before they are baked in an oven for 15 to 20 minutes. They are prized for their crunch while delivering all the health benefits of low-calorie, high-nutrient greens.