All About Leafy Greens by Caron Golden

Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. They are tremendous sources of vitamins A, C, K, and several B vitamins, full of phytonutrients, have lots of fiber, and low in calories. Leafy greens are superfoods.

All About Leafy Greens

What are Leafy Greens?

Keep in mind, all lettuces are leafy greens, but not all leafy greens are lettuces. There is a whole world of leafy greens beyond lettuce! Some of the most nutritious greens include spinach, kale, romaine, watercress, and arugula.

Leafy greens also include cruciferous vegetables, like collard greens, bok choy, cabbage, watercress, and broccolini. There are hardy leafy greens like kale and cabbage, and more delicate greens like spinach and chard. And let’s not forget all the delicious greens attached to vegetables like beets, radishes, and carrots.
 
So, there’s no getting bored with leafy greens—it’s really just a question of what to do with them. You can feature the greens as the star, a snack, a side dish, or another ingredient in a larger dish.

Ideas for Eating More Leafy Greens

Here are some ways to increase your leafy green intake:
• Green salads
• Grain bowls and lentil or bean salads
• Kale chips
• Raw wraps
• Soups and stews
• Smoothies
• Sauces, pesto, and hummus
• Sautés and stir fries
• Braising
• Add raw greens to a sandwich or taco
• Sauté and add to pasta, an omelet, or lasagna
 
Need more inspiration? In warm months, try our Mighty Greens Gazpacho as a relief from the heat. Or try adding baby spinach to a berry popsicle. A handful of spinach will be barely noticeable among all the fruit in your blender, and you’ll get even more nutrients. The same rule applies to smoothies.
  
Love lettuce wraps? Make them yourself, like a Chicken Lettuce Wrap. Add your favorite greens to our Tex-Mex Shrimp Tacos. Want to try a leafy green as a meat alternative? Try our Roasted Cabbage Steaks—or even toss them on the grill.
 
With some greens, different varieties will have distinctive textures and flavors, so experiment to identify what you enjoy. For example, curly kale can take the heat, so it’s great for stew. But when kale is the star of a dish, think about trying a different variety, like Tuscan, also known as Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale. It’s a little thinner, with a mild, nutty flavor. The right variety makes all the difference.
 
Getting more leafy greens into your meals has numerous benefits. Be sure to sign up for the Diabetes Food Hub e-newsletter for healthy recipes delivered to your inbox every month.

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