According to a recent study published in British Medical Journal, which reviewed several studies that explored the link between fruit and vegetable consumption and Type 2 diabetes, eating one and a half extra servings of green leafy vegetables cut the risk of diabetes by 14 percent. As if we needed another reason to eat more leafy greens! Calorie for calorie, no other food packs in more nutrition than leafy greens. Which means you can eat and eat, get very few calories (many of which come from protein, by the way) yet a ton of protective phytonutrients and antioxidants that fight disease.
It's easy being green! Read on for some ways to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet.
* Toss a couple of handfuls of baby spinach into the blender next time you make a frozen fruit smoothie. Try this: in a drink blender, combine a pre-peeled and frozen banana with a cup of frozen berries and/or cherries, a few chunks of melon or peeled peach or nectarine, and about a cup of almond milk with 1/2 bag of baby spinach. It'll look a little funky but you won't taste the greens.
* Add shredded lettuce to sandwiches and wraps.
* Add frozen or fresh chopped kale or collards to homemade soup.
* Whip up greens Italian style: Lightly steam chopped up cooking greens. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add a couple of cloves of sliced garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add the greens and saute until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. For a final touch, add a splash of fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. (For a heartier dish, add a can of rinsed white beans to the greens and toss well.)
* Add sauteed spinach to pasta, omelets, rice dishes, and sauces.
* Serve your next meal over a bed of steamed greens. They're good with just about any sauce or gravy.
* Start with a bag of mixed baby greens. Add toasted walnuts, thinly sliced apple, a bit of crumbled tofu, and your favorite no-sugar-added dressing for a gourmet first course before dinner.
* Pile sauteed or steamed greens on homemade pizza.
* Choose a large green like collards, and make burritos and wraps using the leaves as the wrappers.
How to pick: Look for fresh, bright, firm leafy green veggies, free of foul odor and a limp appearance. Try broccoli, mustard greens, Chinese greens (not just bok choy-- visit an Asian grocer if you have one, and check out the variety!), kale, collards, arugula, chard, and spinach. If you have a budding green thumb, try growing some in your garden.