Sunday, February 17, 2013

Healthy Kitchen Club: Getting More Greens in the Winter

Here are the notes from my January Healthy Kitchen Club Meeting that was all about how to get more greens in your diet during the Winter months. Enjoy!

We all know vegetables are good for us, right? Well, green vegetables are especially great for your body’s health. Here’s just a short list of the many things greens can do for your body:

  • Improve digestion (lots of great fiber in greens)
  • Decrease sugar cravings and in turn help you loose weight (high alkaline (pH) level which balances blood sugar)
  • Increase your energy (loaded with vitamins and minerals)
  • Help you stay healthy all year long
  • Clear up your skin, strengthen your nails and hair too!

Tips for making a yummy Green Smoothie:

  • Use juice as a base. Although it will add more calories and sugar than water, it will make a tastier smoothie! I like orange juice or apple juice the best.
  • Spinach is an easy green staple as you can find it year around. Costco sells big bins of organic spinach for the best price.
  • Some of my other favorite greens are Kale - which is really super green; and Bok Choy which has a more subtle flavor than other greens. 
  • For a more extensive list of green smoothie ideas go here:

Easy Green Smoothie Recipe
1 cup juice of choice 
2-3 large handfuls greens
1/2 - 1 cup frozen berries or any fruit
Water or more juice to desired consistency

optional supplements to add in: 
lemon w/ peel, flaxseed oil, chia seed, bee pollen, coconut water, ginger

Tips to make a Tasty Salad:

  • Identify what you love in a salad. If you were at a salad bar what would you choose as toppings? Do you like crunchy, nutty, sweet, salty, etc. I love a crunchy salad - so I make sure to always have nuts or seeds in all my salads, along with lots of “fixins!”
  • Pre-washed greens make it fast and easy. If you buy a head of lettuce, wash and prepare right when you get home from the store so it’s all ready to go! 
  • Pre-cut veggies and on-hand “fixins” make for quick salad assembling.
  • Get a good dressing - in fact get a lot of yummy dressings. Or make your own. Make them light and lower in calories with good oils and vinegars. I find my favorite salad dressings at the local health food store and just buy whatever is on sale to try new flavors.
  • Have the right tools to make it simple. A Chop Wizard makes cutting up veggies a snap! A large tupperware makes mixing the salad and dressing nice and quick, and stores leftovers easy!
More ways to get your greens...

Powdered Greens are another great option to increase your consumption of greens. You can add a little bit to a smoothie or, if you’re feeling adventurous, to plain water! I like Ormus Greens by Sun Warrior.

Sprouting seeds is a great way to get fresh greens during the winter. My favorites are raw sunflower seeds and Mung beans. Watch this video to learn more about sprouting seeds:

Think outside the box - start adding greens here and there to increase the amount of veggies you get throughout the day. Ideas: add spinach to eggs in the morning, avocado and mixed greens to a meat, cheese, tuna (or just veggie) sandwich, on top of a baked potato or pizza, or as a taco filling, etc.

Try making these delicious Kale Chips for a green-filled snack...

  • 1/2 - 1 bunch Kale
  • 1/4 cup Raw Almonds or Cashews 
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

  1. Brush kale with olive oil
  2. Blend nuts and yeast and sprinkle on kale
  3. Dehydrate @ 110 degrees from 8-10 hours

*Choose organic greens since conventionally grown produce contains the highest amount of pesticides. But conventional greens are better than no greens, so do what you can.

I really enjoy checking this website weekly for a list of veggies that are in season during the winter months and then I create meals that use those. They are the freshest and the cheapest when you buy them in season.

What ideas do you have for getting more greens in your winter diet? Please share in the comments!