If there’s one thing that nutrition science agrees upon, it’s that vegetables and fruits are unequivocally good for our health. Yet most of us still don’t eat enough of them each day. And that’s why I chose to encourage you to gobble your greens for the March page of my 12 Healthy Habits Calendar.
Cooking with dark, leafy greens is one of my fave, fast ways to boost my daily veggie intake. I use them in everything and anything (from salads and smoothies to soups, stir-fries, curries and more) and I’ll happily gobble them at every meal of the day. If I’m short on time, pre-washed organic greens make things super-speedy.
Each recipe in this menu serves two and calls for the equivalent of a 142 gram /5 ounce container of pre-washed organic leafy greens (kale at breakfast, arugula at lunch and spinach at dinner). Along with the other veggies in the recipes and adding in two fruits, you’ll consume roughly eight servings of fruits and veggies for the day.
Why gobble your greens?
Because greens are good for:
- blood sugar balance,
- brain health and mood,
- stress relief,
- strong bones,
- reducing inflammation,
- your immune system,
- glowing skin and
- healthy aging!
Ten terrific reasons to gobble your greens, I’d say. Scroll on down for more about a few of the phytonutrients responsible for some of these health-promoting effects. And I hope this gives you the green light to go ahead and gobble your greens!
Gobble Your Greens Menu
Breakfast: Kale & Kimchi Scrambled Eggs (this protein, probiotic and plant filled breakfast will power up your morning)
Lunch: Warm Carrot, Sweet Potato & Arugula Salad (warm salads are a tasty way to transition from winter to spring eating)
Dinner: Seared Cod, Lemony Spinach & White Beans (this dish is simple, flavourful and satisfying; if you don’t have fresh cherry tomatoes, diced canned tomatoes work well too)
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A few featured phytonutrients …
Food is not just for energy and enjoyment. Food is also information for our body. Micronutrients and chemicals in food communicate with our DNA and can alter the expression of our genes to the benefit (or detriment) of our health. This is why nourishing ourselves with phytonutrient-rich whole foods like vegetables and fruits is so critical for vibrant health. Here are just a few of the important phytonutrients abundant in the leafy greens found in this month’s menu.
Sulforaphane is one of the most powerful food ingredients in nature. It significantly reduces inflammation and improves our liver’s ability to remove environmental pollutants. Studies show that sulforaphane may beneficially affect cancer, heart disease, diabetes and digestion. It may also help protect your skin from UV sun damage.
Kale and arugula are excellent sources of sulforaphane in this menu. You can also find it in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower and collard greens. Broccoli sprouts are a super-concentrated source, if you can find them. Or sprout them yourself. It’s important to chew these veggies well to activate sulforaphane from its inactive form (glucoraphanin). Sulforaphane content is highest when these veggies are raw or lightly cooked.
Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant that may improve your cognitive health, vision and skin, as well as protect against heart disease and certain cancers.
You’d be right if you think that beta-carotene is what gives veggies their orange, red and yellow colours. The foods richest in beta-carotene are sweet potato and carrots (both found in this month’s menu). But dark, leafy greens are also rich in beta-carotene and spinach takes the prize, with one cooked cup providing 105% of the RDA (followed closely by kale at 98%). Beta-carotene is fat soluble, so serving these foods along with olive oil, olives, nuts and seeds or avocado can help your body absorb it.
Cooking your own food is the single most impactful step you can take to improve your health and energy!
I hope you enjoy my Gobble Your Greens Menu. Sign up here to receive the download link for this latest Menu of the Month. And if you want to cook more of your own food but don’t know what to make or have the time to organize your own menus and shopping lists, The Nutritional Reset offers a meal planning service. It makes preparing tasty, nutritious meals a snap. Click here to find out more.