Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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3 Ways to Get Your Leafy Greens
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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It’s one of the most popular nutrition and diet tips out there: Eat more leafy green vegetables.  Whereas some diet advice in the media is not always correct (see my previous Diet Quiz I, Diet Quiz II to dispel some nutrition myths!), this recommendation is actually legitimate.  Leafy greens are not only nutritious, loaded with vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium, but when prepared the healthy way, they’re incredibly low-calorie and nutrient-dense!

We can all benefit from including more leafy greens in our diets, but if you’ve never actually tried to cook any greens, it can be a little daunting to figure out how to use them.  I’ll profile 3 popular leafy greens below, Kale, Chard, and Spinach, and offer you quick and easy ways to prepare them, even for those of us with busy lifestyles!

  • Kale. Rich in iron, calcium, vitamin K and calcium, kale has been quickly emerging over the past few years as the next big leafy green. And for good reason – it’s delicious and nutritious!  Kale has a crunchier texture than spinach, and is just as versatile – try it steamed with lemon juice and garlic on its own, or mix steamed kale into quinoa, bulgur, or whole-grain pasta for a tasty meal.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy kale is making kale chips!
  • Chard. Perhaps not one you’ve tried, chard (or Swiss chard) has a slightly salty taste that can sometimes be a little bitter, and comes with either a red, yellow or white stalk, along with big green leaves.  Both the stalks and leaves are edible, and are great when combined together in a sauteed pan of chard and sliced red onions.  Chard can additionally boast that it’s full of potassium, an important mineral for heart-health to balance out high sodium intakes.  One cup of cooked chard has the same amount of potassium as two medium bananas – a fruit known for their high potassium content.  Try steaming the leaves of chard or dicing up the stems and sautee it with your favorite flavor combinations – try garlic, lemon juice, parmesan, and a pinch of balsamic vinegar!
  • Spinach. Everyone’s favourite ‘basic’ leafy green, spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  An important note is that although it does contain its fair share of calcium, it also has compounds called oxalates that attach themselves to the calcium and inhibit it’s absorption, so it’s not a great source of calcium.  It is, however, incredibly versatile in terms of adding it to your diet!  Use it as the base for a big lunch salad or a stirfry, or try one of my newest favorite smoothie ideas and toss in a few handfuls of spinach!  Check out my video below for a quick and easy way to make a delicious spinach side dish for dinner!

Mitzi\’s Simple Spinach

What about you – what’s your favorite leafy green?  I just mentioned 3 here, and there’s many more!  Let me know in the comments! You also need to check out my Smoothie Video with my 6 year-old Jasmine and I making delish smoothie!

Assistance provided by Megan Skinner

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