We’re all trying to live our best lives, whether it’s using less plastic, recycling or maintaining a healthy diet. Green veggies seem to always have a place on your dinner plate. They are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. According to a recent study in the British Medical Journal, a daily serving of green veggies can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%. In light of this, we’ve rounded up that top 5 healthy and nutritious green veggies available.
Kale has become so trendy that a backlash has set in, making it the butt of many jokes. Foodie Underground even listed 25 pick-up lines for kale lovers. But you can’t beat it for nutrients and versatility. Eat baby kale leaves in salad, stir-fry mature leaves, add it to soups and stews, tuck a leaf into a sandwich. The spine running through the middle of the leaves can be tough, so reserve that part for a slow-cooked stew or your compost pile.
The superfood is packed with lutein, an antioxidant that protects eyesight and plenty of vitamin C. As a member of Brassica family along with broccoli and brussels sprouts, kale contains sulforaphane, a nutrient that has cancer-fighting properties. Kale is also very high in iron, per calorie kale actually has more iron than beef. Additionally, per calorie kale contains more calcium than milk. With one cup of kale only equating to 36 calories and 0 grams of fat, kale is a great addition to any meal.
4.) Dandelion Greens
The dandelion trend is a blessing for people who hate yard work. Now, when your neighbors complain about your dishevelled yard you can look down your nose and say, “This is a reserve for nutritious greens. Don’t you know anything about fine cuisine?”.
The dandelion plant is a powerful healer that helps to purify the blood, help digestion and prevent piles and gallstones. The plant acts as a mild laxative to relieve bloating and constipation. They also give the body 112% of the daily requirement of vitamin A which is good for the skin, mucus membranes and vision.
Still, dandelions haven’t caught on as much as they should have, considering their high nutrition profile. The USDA ranked them as the fourth most nutritious green vegetable. Perhaps it’s hard to stomach eating a leaf that grows everywhere dogs lift their legs. The Dallas Frugal Foodie blog suggests boiling dandelions for a minute to cut their slight bitterness. For some other ways you can eat dandelion greens, have a look at this.
Pronounced “mosh,” this cool-weather crop is also known as corn salad and lamb’s lettuce. Its nutty flavor combines well with spinach and other greens in mixed salads. This green originally comes from Europe, where it’s sold in bunches like watercress. The French began cultivating mache in the 17th century. In the U.S., cultivation got underway much more recently in California.
The lettuce’s leaves grow close to the ground, making it a pain to harvest. The expense of hand-harvesting drives up the crop’s cost, but this sweet, gentle-tasting baby lettuce is catching on. Todd Koons, CEO of Epic Roots and the person most responsible for popularizing high-quality bagged salad mixes, is a leading pro-mache crusader.
Mache is supercharged with vitamin C, it contains more than lemon juice on an ounce to ounce basis. It’s not only carrots that help protect our eyesight, mache is packed with vitamin A which keeps your eyes healthy. Mache is also a good source of potassium and copper, which are both known for their heart health-protecting properties.
Renowned chef Frank Bonnano named his Denver fine dining restaurant Mizuna. This tangy, saw-toothed Japanese mustard green plays well with others, making for delicious mixed salads. It’s also described as having a rich peppery flavor, making it a great topping for pasta dishes, soups, stews and pizzas. Mizuna’s shape and peppery flavor bring arugula to mind. In Japan, mizuna comes in at least 16 varieties. In the U.S., it’s still confined mostly to farmers markets and Asian groceries.
This dark green leaf is high in immune-boosting vitamin C and iron. A one-cup serving delivers 80% of your daily requirement of folate. As well as antioxidants that are linked to decreased cancer risk, according to the author of “The F-Factor Diet”. Finally, they have plenty of calcium to help strengthen bones.
1.) Mesclun Mix
Ever since Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters started bringing mesclun mix seeds back from France in 1971, speciality lettuces have stormed the nation. At first, Waters planted and harvested the mesclun in her yard, but soon growers grasped the commercial value. This mixture of tender young leaves originated in Southern France and traditionally includes wild-harvested varieties.
Of course, now that it’s pre-washed, packed and available in grocery stores, mesclun has been domesticated. Its Italian cousin, “misticanza,” includes savory chicory leaves. To dress mesclun, Food and Wine Magazine recommends a simple mixture of oil, balsamic vinegar, basil leaves, shallots, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
If you include mesclun into your diet, you will receive large amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. And one serving of mesclun veggies only contains 2 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of protein.
So there you go, 5 delicious, healthy, green veggies that will help you mix up your eating routine. It can be so boring having the same salad every day for lunch but now you can incorporate a variety and still know that you are getting a variety of vitamins and other benefits.
If you’d go far enough as to grow your own veggies, we have an article with 5 easy vegetables that you can grow in your own garden here. And if you’re looking for a healthy dessert to accompany your vegetable-packed meal, here are 5 healthy desserts.