By Taylor Lupo for Sharecare
USDA guidelines suggest eating two to three cups of vegetables each day, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat an entire crown of broccoli in one sitting. In addition to being low in calories and high in hydrating properties, greens contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. Check out these easy – and tasty – ways to sneak greens into your meals and achieve the recommended servings.
- Omelets: Start your day on a green note by adding nutrient-dense greens like spinach, kale and parsley to your breakfast. Load up your omelet with green vegetables like broccoli or arugula for protein- and fiber-dense breakfast that will keep you full all morning. Save extra calories by swapping whole eggs for egg whites and cheese for fresh herbs and spices.
- Smoothies: If you like starting your day with a smoothie, increase its nutritional value by adding kale or dandelion greens. In addition to color, kale adds loads of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and K, potassium and calcium. It’s important not to overdo it; depending on the ingredients you choose, smoothies can be high in fat, sugar and calories. Keep it simple: Load your blender with spinach or kale and low-sugar fruits, like raspberries and blackberries, plus a protein, so you’ll stay full all morning.
- Oatmeal: Swap sweet oatmeal for a bowl full of the savory stuff. A serving of steel cut oats is high in fiber, which helps keeps you full all morning. Top your oats with steamed greens and a poached egg for the perfect mix of vitamins and protein. For an extra dose of nutrients, add spinach, which contains vitamin C and iron.
- Vegetable Soups & Stews: Adding vegetables to soups and stews are the easiest way to get your daily serving of veggies. Make your own vegetable soup with the ingredients hiding in your fridge or add a handful of greens to your favorite store-bought version. Try incorporating asparagus in your soup, which is high in vitamins and fiber, or vitamin C-rich Swiss chard.
- Lettuce Wraps: Swap your bread for two pieces of crisp lettuce instead. Bibb, romaine and iceberg lettuce are good options because they’re high in fiber and vitamin A, which promote dental and skin health. Spread on some homemade hummus and you’ve got yourself a protein-packed lunch that’s still low in calories.
- Veggie Noodles & Pasta Sauce: Add a handful of fresh spinach to your favorite pasta dish for added flavor, color and a dose of vitamin A. What’s better? Ditch the pasta and opt for fresh veggie noodles. Zucchini noodles are a great alternative to traditional or whole grain pasta, and contain potassium, which helps muscle function, and manganese, for bone health. Add a double dose of nutrients to your pasta by sneaking some greens into your sauce, such as boiled collard greens to your homemade pasta sauce for added texture, fiber and vitamin A. Blend basil and sage into your pasta sauce for extra nutrition without extra calories.
- Turkey Burger: Before you toss your next turkey burger on the grill, add some shredded zucchini and scallions to the mix. The combination of these greens adds folic acid, a B vitamin helpful for producing healthy cells and vitamin K, which helps promote blood health. Top your burger with lettuce and avocado for added vitamins and good-for-you fats.
- Kale Chips: Out with the processed snacks and in with the wholesome, healthy snack options. Satisfy your mid-afternoon munchies with homemade kale chips or sweet potato fries. Just drizzle veggies with olive oil and your favorite spices, bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (until the edges are brown, but not burnt) and enjoy!
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