The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans found that 90 percent of the U.S. population fails to get the recommended daily amount of vegetables. Based on these statistics, most of us (including me!) could use a little help taking in more — especially those nutrient-packed greens. Here are eight ways to quickly pack more greens into your day.
- Use leftover veggies.
Many folks forget those excess greens they have stored in the back of the refrigerator. Next time you make a recipe, leave those greens at the front of the refrigerator and toss them into your morning omelet or into soup, or chop them for a green salad to tote to work. It’s also a great way to help reduce food waste and use everything you’ve got.
- Use collard greens instead of a tortilla wrap.
Use large leaves of collard greens instead of bread to wrap your favorite taco or sandwich. Just trim the leaves, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, and blot them dry before stuffing with your favorite fillings.
- Stock up on frozen greens.
Stock your freezer with a few greens like spinach and kale and toss them into soups, pasta, or chili dishes for some added greens. Look for frozen greens without added butter, which adds unnecessary calories from fat. Some new brands on the market, like Tommy’s Superfoods, add spices for few calories, making the greens an easy side dish or flavored addition to dishes.
- Add leftover greens to your morning eggs.
An easy way to get more greens first thing in the morning is to add leftovers right into your morning omelet or frittata. Spinach, kale and chard work deliciously. One prepackaged option, Scramble Leafy Greens by Clever Foodies, consists of packaged greens you can mix right into your morning choice of eggs. The Leafy Greens variety adds 60 calories per serving and includes kale, tomatoes, onion, spinach, broccoli rabe and spices.
- Blend greens into smoothies.
Get your greens first thing in the morning by tossing kale or spinach into your morning smoothie.
- Add greens to burgers.
Toss fresh herbs, chopped spinach or kale into your burger patty mixture to up your greens. Ellie Krieger does a fabulous job in this mouthwatering recipe for My Big Fat Greek Burgers. If you don’t have time to cook, you can always turn to Hilary’s Hemp & Greens Burgers, made with millet and a variety of greens, including arugula, beet greens, spinach and kale.
- Drink cold-pressed juice.
An easy way to get your greens is to gulp them. You can find many cold-pressed juices at the market, or grab a bottle of Evolution Fresh when you pass your local Starbucks. Check out how your favorite green juice ranked in our taste test.
- Snack on kale chips.
Either make your own or purchase premade versions like Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips to serve beside wraps and sandwiches instead of chips or french fries. Kale chips also make for a quick and easy snack.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.