• Iris Windsor

How to Add More Green to Your Diet

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Continuing our Journey to a Healthy Life


8 Simple Ways to add more Green to Your Diet


There is no disputing the fact that green leafy vegetables are the healthiest foods on the planet. The more you eat, the leaner and healthier you’ll be. Since they’re so nutrient-dense, full of fiber, and low in calories, you can consume them in virtually unlimited amounts.


Green leafy vegetables become particularly important to us as we age. Green vegetables are loaded with protein (100gms of romaine lettuce has 7.2gms protein) and contain a cornucopia of micronutrients. Some leafy greens like kale, watercress, arugula, bok choy and fresh herbs belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables whose unique nutrients such as isothiocyanates have been shown to be some of the most powerful cancer fighters in existence.


Though you may eat the same foods you’ve always eaten since you were a child, the fact is your nutritional needs change throughout your life. In childhood, it is all about learning about "green" and building a healthy growing body. In youth, it’s all about growth and maintaining a body that can procreate. After the age of 50, the goal is to prevent disease by maintaining an optimally healthy and active mind and body. Being in the best health possible means what we eat as we age, matters.


As we get older, our metabolism slows and the body’s ability to break down and use it’s fuel sources becomes less efficient. In addition, certain vitamins become more important to help protect against diseases and health issues.

Nasty ailments and diseases cannot survive in an alkaline body. Our aim is to add as much green as we can to our diets. This is particularly good for those who "hate" their greens.


WEEKLY CHALLENGE

In order to increase the amount of herbs included in your diet, buy a bunch of Italian parsley at the beginning of the week ( or grow your own). Wash and dry your bunch and place in a ziplock bag in the fridge. The challenge is to use the entire bunch....stalks and all, by the end of the week. Think about using it every time you cook something. You will be surprised at what tastes great with the addition of a little parsley!

Below is a list of ways to add green to our diets


EAT LOTS OF GREEN LEAFY SALADS

Choose rainbow colours to make your salad with a heavy emphasis on the greens. They look festive and bright and are really good for you. Include herbs in your salads. There is nothing like the flavour zing that a handful of fresh Greek or bush basil gives to the simplest of salads.


BLENDING AND JUICING

Some children (and adults) don't eating lots of salads. Doesn't everyone love a smoothie? Try drinking your greens instead. Blending your greens into a smoothie or making a juice from fresh fruit and adding your greens is a great way to include more. Include some good fats and use an avocado as a base or throw a handful of spinach leaves, mint and fresh ginger into any fresh fruit juice combination. Even if you’re a big salad eater, including blended or juiced greens into your diet is worth trying. Starting your day with a nice portion of greens, with plenty of fiber and protein will keep you feeling full for a long time


BREAKFAST EGGS

Try including greens with your breakfast scramble or eggs You can add baby spinach in with your scrambled eggs or you can lay your poached breakfast eggs on top of some spinach. It will wilt from the heat of the eggs. Depending on how you like your eggs, the addition of parsley, coriander or thyme is a very tasty addition no matter what the method of cookery is.


Have you thought of including salad for breakfast? This is a practice in many European and Asian countries. Introduce a handful of salad greens or some beautiful crisp coz lettuce leaves along with some fresh torn basil leaves to your plate of poached eggs. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper and you no longer need to have toast. This cuts down on the carbs by introducing the greens. Crisp, fresh and delicious! Try it!


Children love slices of crisp cucumber, carrot and many other vegetables. Think about including these vegetables for them at breakfast.


SOUPS, CURRIES AND ONE POT MEALS

Just like with a scramble, you can easily add chopped or whole greens like spinach leaves to any one-pot meal. Greens can also be blended into the base of soups. Once again, don't forget the herbs. Curries are delicious served on spinach leaves or fold the spinach leaves and fresh herbs into the curry just before serving. The greens give not only amazing flavour but also amazing colour to your meal. You can do this also with any ragout or slow cooked meal. This is where you can add the parsley stems and the white section of shallots that are so often discarded


SAUCES AND DRESSINGS

Greens also work well in savoury sauces. Blend spinach into any pesto along with the herbs as you are making it. Add fresh picked or chopped herbs to any white, cheese or curry sauce.

Dressings of any type are given some extra zing along with great colour if you add some fresh herbs. Blend the dressing ingredients to give a beautiful pale green colour. This also intensifies the flavour


NOODLES AND PASTA

If you’re making pasta, (whole grain is best), add some greens into the boiling pasta water a couple of minutes before the noodles are al dente. Drain and continue to prepare as normal. Not only will this improve the colour of your dish, it will also increase the micronutrient content but will reduce the caloric density of your dish


BURGER PATTIES OR MEATBALLS.

No matter what protein you are using to make a burger or meatballs, you can add some finely chopped spinach to the mixture. I also like to add grated zucchini and grated carrot along with lots of fresh green finely chopped herbs. It might not amount to a huge portion of greens, but any time you can add more greens to a dish, it is worth doing


BBQ MEATS.

When preparing any meat for a BBQ, think about introducing fresh herbs. Here are some suggestions

Chicken or Pork.

Let your meat marinate In a combination of chopped coriander, parsley, grated ginger and garlic with a little soy sauce for about 30 mins before cooking

Beef or Lamb.

Finely chop fresh parsley, rosemary or thyme leaves and fold through your favourite mustard. Spread over your beef or lamb and allow to stand for about 30 mins before putting on the BBQ. This not only tenderises the meat but adds delicious flavour

Serve these BBQ meats with a beautiful crisp fresh salad using any dressing to

which you have added fresh herbs.


By incorporating any or all of these tips into your daily routine, you’ll end up flooding your body with the most beneficial disease-fighting nutrients possible in some of the least noticeable ways.


All at Dragonfly's Early Learning support adding antioxidant greens to our diets. It helps us all stay healthy. The children at Dragonfly's Early Learning grow beautiful greens in their gardens and use them when they have a cooking activity


To learn more about what we do at Dragonfly's Early Learning go to https://www.dragonflys.com.au/contact-us/

or call us on 07 5471 6500 to organise to come and take a look at our garden activities