I grew up disgusted by the thought of green vegetables on my plate. My father would purposely put them on my plate, and I was constantly forced to stay at the dinner table until they were all gone. Scowling as I loaded them up on my fork, it was usually a dramatic event as I tried not to gag, spit, or cry about the chore of eating them.
Today, bags of frozen peas, beans, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli consume my freezer. The crisper in the fridge is full of leafy spinach, kale, and asparagus. I’ve gone green!
My palate has matured, and I’ve learned to understand the benefits of going green with my diet. Green vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that prevent against disease. They’re low in calories, low in fat, help with your digestion, and keep your body functioning at par. (Why do you think Popeye inhaled endless amounts of spinach?!)
I’ll still admit, that greens are sometimes difficult to keep on the plate. I can only eat a simple salad so many times, before I start feeling like a rabbit. Brussel sprouts, spinach, and broccoli quickly become a bore, and the smell of too much asparagus can become nauseating. Luckily, I’ve discovered a few ways to keep the greens enticing! Here’s a few suggestions to changing them up so you aren’t dreading the idea of consuming them.
I lived off green smoothies for a month. I know it sounds disgusting (and they kind of look gross) but they’re delicious for any meal; I took them in for breakfast, brunch, or lunch – depending on my day. My go to recipe included 2 handfuls of spinach, 1/2 a cucumber, 3 stalks of celery, half an avocado, a tablespoon of flax seeds, and a small teaspoon of stevia blended together with a few ice cubes.
A couple of co-workers live off this recipe every morning:
1 1/2 cups cold water, 6 cups of spinach, 5 cups romaine lettuce, 2 stalks of celery, 1 apple (cored and chopped), 1 pear (cored and chopped) 1 banana, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup parsley, ice cubes – blended together. [this makes 2 servings]
2. Kale Chips:
These are an acquired taste, but they’re a simple way to incorporate kale into your diet.
Rinse and dry a bunch of kale from the market and tear it into bite size pieces (without the stems). Spread it among parchment paper, on top of a cookie sheet; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 10-15 minutes, until edges are brown (not burnt).
You can even try incorporating flavour with soy sauce, nut butter, garlic, ginger, chili flakes, parmesan, lemon, sesame seeds, and other favourites.
3. Grilled asparagus
This makes for a great snack, if not just a great side dish. It’s simple too.
Grab some asparagus, and simply snap off the bottoms. Scatter them on a roasting sheet, and sprinkle some olive oil on their if you please. Season to taste, and pop them in the oven at about 350. Keep an eye on them, and take them about when they’re slightly browned and crispy.
For a special treat, you can wrap them in bacon. Just wrap each asparagus spear in bacon, leaving the ends exposed. Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until bacon is cooked) at 400 degrees.
Personally, I love broccoli; I often still run into people disgusted by the idea of it.
If broccoli isn’t your thing, you can try broccolini. It looks like broccoli, but with smaller florets and longer stalks. It’s like a mix of broccoli and asparagus; if you simply sautee it or throw it some stir fry, it tastes delicious.
5. Roasted Peas
I’ve never been a fan of peas on my dinner plate. Instead, I’ve decided to use them for snacking purposes.
Grab some frozen peas, scatter them among the entirety of a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of pepper, and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Take them out when they’re brown and crispy – be careful not to burn them!
Greens aren’t the most exciting thing to incorporate into our meals, but they are important. So, even if you just try something different every day, and just slowly add a little more green to the plate as the lunch and dinner come along, you’ll be on your way to a healthier you!