Five Ways to Add More Greens to Your Diet

Spring is in the air and with it comes St. Patty’s festivities. The Shamrock Shake made its annual return to McDonald’s weeks ago, and in a few days the Chicago River will be dyed green. Traditionally, St. Patty’s is a holiday full of beer and heartier snacks and meals. This year, in addition to enjoying the usual activities, celebrate all things green by adding more greens to your diet.

We all know that green veggies are great for us – they’re incredibly nutritionally dense, high in micronutrients, and relatively low in calories. Basically, you should be eating them. But if you don’t want to eat spinach salads for every meal, it might feel tedious trying to get more greens into your diet. Try these creative strategies to eat more greens and you’ll feel great and be able to put a healthy spin on your St. Patrick’s Day, win win!

Mix greens into large batch dishes

Leafy greens cook incredibly fast which makes them perfect for stirring in at the end of cooking almost anything. Making a big pot of soup or sauce? Stir in heartier greens like kale near the end of cooking and let them wilt into the dish and soak up the great flavor already in your pot. More delicate greens like spinach and arugula can even be mixed into individual bowls at the last minute and are a perfect way to add fresh greens to any pre prepped meals.

Make use of your blender

You know how healthy you feel whenever you swing by the juice bar after the gym and pick up a green smoothie? Keep a bag of spinach or baby kale on hand and blend it into any smoothie you make (my favorite combination is coconut water, spinach, banana, and any frozen fruit I have on hand). You can never taste it and it’s way more affordable to DIY your green juice than picking it up from a trendy local spot.

In addition to smoothies, you can throw some leafy greens into anything you put in your blender. Cream sauce? Pureed soup? Even homemade applesauce can benefit from some greens. It will definitely turn whatever you’re making green, but more the reason to serve it at a St. Patty’s party!

Hidden greens

Sometimes you don’t really feel like eating something that feels healthy, but you still want to fuel your body with food that’s going to serve it. This is the perfect opportunity to experiment with hiding greens, and my favorite way to do that is with shredded zucchini. Use a box grater to finely shred zucchini and then squeeze all of the liquid out with a dish towel. Then, you can throw zucchini into almost anything to pack in an additional nutritional punch.

This strategy works with anything from meatballs to banana bread. It’s seriously awesome, and for an added bonus it’s great for tricking any picky eaters into eating their veggies.

Mix up your breakfast routine

Hear me out – breakfast salads. You might be rolling your eyes but I ate them for a week, felt amazing, and really enjoyed the break from my usual breakfast routine. And by making greens the star at a time of day when you might be least likely to get them into your diet, you’ll start your day ahead of the game.

If breakfast salads aren’t your thing, consider shredding some zucchini into oats, adding spinach to scrambled eggs, or topping a bagel with some arugula or microgreens.

Use greens like herbs

One of my favorite tips for reducing food waste is to use greens like herbs and use herbs like greens. Who says you can’t have a salad base that’s a third fresh parsley or garnish your plate with arugula? Expanding the way you think about greens and what you consider potential uses makes way for all new preparations and even more opportunities to get more greens into your diet.

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About Kira Schreiber

Kira grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is passionate about mental health, healthy eating, and sustainability. After spending the first part of her career working for a non profit mental health agency in Southern California, she transitioned to pursue a career in her passion for cooking. Now back in Chicago, Kira spends her days developing healthy recipes for a food tech start up. When not in the kitchen or on her laptop she loves spending time outdoors, hitting up a spin class, or watching home decor DIYs on YouTube.