How to Get Green Vegetables into Your Gut

June 22, 2016
Green vegetables

The benefits of getting cruciferous green vegetables into your body are endless. They add large quantities of fibre and micro-nutrients, they help with weight management, they make your skin shine, and the list goes on and on into forever.

But the reality is that while some of us love green vegetables, others hate them. I love green vegetables, but that’s because I acquired a taste for them when I was very young. If they’ve never been a significant part of your daily meals, trying to get more green vegetables into your body can seem challenging.

While I love to make them a part of as many meals as possible, there are times when I get bored of them, I don’t have time to cook them, or they go bad. But never fear: I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that have helped me combat all of these issues.

How to Get Green Vegetables into Your Diet

1. Freeze green vegetables.

Freezing spinach and kale is a great way to ensure that you always have some on hand (because you can buy a lot in one trip), and to prevent you from wasting it when you don’t eat it before it expires. I buy 3 or 4 of those big, inexpensive, pre-washed bags of spinach* and stuff ‘em right into the freezer. While frozen spinach and kale can’t be thawed and used in a salad (it goes to mush) you can use it to cook with.

2. Add green vegetables to smoothies.

Green vegetables: asparagusWe think of smoothies as a healthy choice simply because it’s a smoothie, regardless of what we put in it. Drinking a sugary fruit-based smoothie with no fibre in it is fine once in awhile, but on a daily basis it’s not exactly the most nutritious choice. However, adding any leafy green vegetables helps to slow your digestion, which reduces spikes in blood sugar and helps with weight management.

I add frozen spinach to my smoothies. I actually take the bag of frozen leaves and crunch it up into little tiny bits, which is easier to pour into my little Magic Bullet cup. If you don’t like the taste of spinach or kale in your smoothie, simply add a dollop of peanut or nut butter to cover it.

3. Try raw broccoli or Brussels sprouts as the base of your salad.

Who said a salad has to be made with lettuce? Try raw broccoli or Brussels sprouts in place of any lettuce leaf in your salad and you’ve got yourself a more interesting, filling meal.

For example:

  • Raw broccoli, sliced almonds, sliced apple, red onion
  • Dressing of olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, Dijon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

It’s that easy.

4. Use green vegetables to make a hash for your breakfast side dish.

Green vegetables: kaleWestern breakfast sides are typically beige-coloured: bread, potatoes, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, etc. Try replacing your beige breakfast side dish with a green vegetables hash. I make this one all the time and it’s delicious: sautéed mushrooms, onions, kale and garlic with kimchi.

5. Make salad dressings delicious.

You want your salad dressing to hit every taste bud on your tongue – otherwise your salads will always taste second best to that sandwich. Make your own dressings, or even doctor up store-brought dressings with added flavour. The taste and texture of green vegetables will never match heaven-sent beige-coloured food vehicles, like bread, that our minds gravitate towards.

Green vegetables: red kaleMake your green vegetables the most delicious fucking things on the plate. Make that iceberg lettuce salad ashamed of its existence. Make your green vegetables on the side worthy of a superhero. Make your breakfasts epically green.

Most importantly, take your time with it. Suddenly dropping all the beige-coloured food you love and switching to green vegetables is a great intention, but it’s too big of a switch. Make small changes here and there. Instead of eating a sandwich for lunch, eat half a sandwich beside a green salad. Instead of dropping potatoes from your breakfast, cut the portion in half and add some sautéed kale alongside it.

Get those green vegetables into your gut and your mind and body will thank you!

*While it’s never happened to me (that I know of) I’ve read that green vegetables present a risk for food poisoning. If you’re concerned about this, I’d still wash your pre-washed spinach and kale. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kristy July 8, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Great list Mike.

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