Leafy veggies like kale, spinach and collard greens have tons of the good stuff—folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, E and K. In the ANDI, a chart that rates food by how many nutrients they pack per calorie, nine of the top 10 foods are leafy greens. Yet a 2018 study by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that only 12 percent of U.S. adults eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables at all, let alone greens. Buck that statistic by sneaking some leaves in your meals throughout the day. Here’s how.
• Blend a handful or two of spinach or other mild greens into a smoothie. It works especially well with berry-based varieties, which completely mask the taste.
• Start your day with salad: Top arugula with strawberries; walnuts; bacon, grilled chicken or egg; and berry vinaigrette or yogurt-based dressing. Make sure you include fats and protein; they’ll help you stay full longer.
• Buy bagged, prewashed greens mixes for salads, sandwiches and wraps. Or assemble your own blend on Sunday evening and use it throughout the week.
• Make collard-green wraps—the giant leaves are a great substitute for flour tortillas; blanch the leaves for one minute first to soften.
With 6 perfectly concealed veggies in every bar, pick up MadeGood granola bars for breakfast, lunch or a quick snack. Your kids will never know!
• Munch on greens-based snacks such as Simple Truth Kale Bars (our favorite flavor: Dates and Carrots) and Brad’s Raw Kale Chips.
• Don’t stop at kale: Make chips from nearly any leaf—chard, collard, mustard, even beet greens. Cut in bite-size pieces, toss in olive oil and sea salt, and bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
• Mix leafy greens into soups, stir fries and casseroles.
• Chop greens small (or puree) and add to burger patties or meatballs.
• Puree less-bitter greens such as spinach or baby bok choy and mix into muffin or brownie batters.
• If you have a VitaMix or similar high-powered blender, try spinach mint chocolate chip ice cream—we promise you won’t taste the spinach! Thoroughly blend 2 frozen bananas, ¼ to ½ cup frozen spinach, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2–3 drops peppermint extract, 2–3 tablespoons milk of choice and a handful of chocolate chips.