8 simple and delicious ideas to boost your intake of greens, so that you can get all the nutrients you need every day of the week.
6 minute read
Health Benefits of Greens 🌱
Green leafy veg is packed with nutrients and so eating greens regularly has shown to have a number of health benefits.
Greens are a rich source of many nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C & Vitamin K, B Vitamins, Folate, Magnesium, Calcium, Fibre, Antioxidants and Iron.
What’s more, a little goes a long way and just a handful of greens can bring beneficial amounts of these nutrients.
Studies have consistently shown that those who eat greens regularly are more likely to have better health than those who eat much less.
Here are just some of the benefits of getting your daily serving of greens:
- Great for your eyesight
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Protects mental health and improves memory
- Reduces the risk of obesity
- Supports muscle function and strength
- Regulates blood sugar and cholesterol
But most of us don't get enough greens...
Research has found that most of us don’t eat an optimal amount of greens each day to enjoy these benefits, particularly dark leafy greens.
In fact, studies have shown that just 9% adults eat enough vegetables as a whole, let alone greens. This drops even further for 11-18 year olds, with only 8% getting enough veg.
Reasons many of us don’t eat enough greens include the cost and availability of fresh ingredients, preparation time, taste preferences and also concerns around fresh food being wasted.
By getting creative in the kitchen and squeezing more greens into every meal - we can bridge this dietary gap and enjoy the health benefits of a diet rich in greens.
How many servings of greens do we need each day? 🤔
In the UK there isn’t any official guidance as to how many servings of greens we should have each day. However, they do fall within the ‘5 A Day’ category, so aiming to have at least 2 portions per day should help to meet this target (one portion is around 80g).
Evidence has shown those who get their 5 servings of fruit and veg each day are at a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and even some kinds of cancer.
So it’s a real shame that most of us don’t eat enough, because adding just a handful of greens to your meals can provide a multitude of health benefits.
8 Delicious Ways to Boost your Daily Greens Intake 🌿
Greens may be associated with healthy eating but they don’t have to be bland or boring. It just takes a little imagination to turn them into something which is as tasty as it is good for you.
Check out our 8 favourite ways to enjoy greens below, you’ll be amazed at how many of these foods you love to eat anyway!
1. Hummus 🍋
Hummus is typically made using a base of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil. These are all blended together to create the thick and creamy hummus we all know and love, which is just perfect for dipping fresh veggies into.
Enjoying fresh veggies dipped into hummus or other homemade dips is a great way to get more greens.
You can even add some extra greens to the hummus itself. Greens such as spinach, herbs, kale, rocket and watercress can all be added to the recipe - simply add to the blender once your hummus is made and blend once more until smooth.
For the ultimate greens hummus, you can also add a sprinkle of our Clean Greens to finish - check out the recipe below for some inspiration! 👌
2. Pesto 🫒
Traditional pesto is made using 4 simple ingredients: basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. These are usually ground together using a pestle and mortar, to create a vibrant green sauce that still has a little bit of texture. You can also use a blender to make things even easier.
Just like green leafy veg, herbs are also packed with the goodness of greens. Basil is a great source of Vitamins A & K, as well as Iron, Calcium and Manganese. It also has a distinct aroma and flavour which can bring life to any dish.
Add a whole bunch of basil to your homemade pesto for a sauce that’s as good for you as it tastes - or add a few leaves to garnish meals for an extra nutrient boost. To make your pesto vegan friendly, just be sure to opt for vegan hard cheese in place of parmesan.
🌱 Green Pesto Recipe
3. Smoothies & Juices 🍹
Nutritious green smoothies and juices are an ideal addition to your busy lifestyle to keep you fuelled on the go. They’re quick and easy to make, super versatile and are great for adding almost any greens to.
You can make a cleansing and detoxifying greens juice by simply adding your favourite greens to a juicer. Things like celery and cucumber work really well as they’re naturally very juicy and full of refreshing flavour.
Making juice is also great for using up any greens you would otherwise discard, such as the greens from beets or any green vegetables which are looking a little past their best - to give them a new lease of life. We also like to add some lemon or ginger for an extra zing and nutrient boost.
Smoothies are perfect for packing in as much fruit and veg as possible. Fresh kale and spinach work really well with some naturally sweet fruit such as berries. You can also add a little avocado for a creamy consistency and some extra healthy fats to keep you energised!
4. Greens Wraps 🌯
One of our favourite ways to enjoy greens is to use them as a wrap. Bigger leaves like cabbage, lettuce leaves, swiss chard and collard greens can all be used as a crunchy and fresh alternative to conventional wraps and bread.
Not only is this a great option if you’re gluten-free, vegan or on a low carb diet - but using greens as a wrap is a great way to enjoy their benefits. Simply stuff large leafy greens with your favourite ingredients and fold over the top and bottom, before rolling into a wrap.
These are ideal for enjoying on the go and are super versatile. Some of our favourite fillings include crunchy fresh veg sticks, hummus and stir-fried veggies.
Lettuce wraps stuffed with falafel and a healthy dressing are also a go to lunch for us. If you eat meat you could also use your greens wraps to make spicy fajitas or enchiladas.
5. Herbs, Herbs, Herbs! 🌿
Greens don’t have to be the main component for your meal - or even a side dish. Simply adding a handful of herbs as a garnish is a great way to enjoy their benefits.
There are so many herbs out there, so if you’re not keen on those you’ve tried in the past then be sure to try other varieties.
You can add fresh herbs to a whole variety of meals including stir-fries, tacos, stews, casseroles, curries, salads, pasta dishes and much more.
Add during cooking to release the wonderful flavour of the herbs, then finish with a garnish of fresh herbs for an extra greens boost that will make your meal look the part too.
6. Guacamole 🥑
Guacamole is a traditional Mexican avocado-based dip which is also a treasure trove of hidden greens. Each serving brings the green goodness of coriander, spring onions, green chilli and lime.
Lime isn’t strictly a ‘green’ but this citrus fruit is packed with natural nutrients of its own including a huge amount of Vitamin C. Lime juice takes guacamole to the next level and it even helps to keep it nice and fresh, preventing discolouration of the avocado flesh.
Guacamole is packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. It can be added to most meals for a boost of green goodness and flavour. We love to enjoy a dollop of guac alongside falafel, salad and crunchy nachos.
7. Kale Chips 🥬
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and something which immediately springs to mind when thinking about leafy greens.
It’s a powerhouse of nutrition providing a rich source of Vitamins A, B6, C and K as well as minerals, fibre and even a small amount of protein.
Making your own kale chips is a great way to replace the usual potato chips or tortilla chips, to enjoy all of these benefits with a crunchy and tasty snack you can enjoy on the move. Kale chips are also lower in carbohydrates, making them a great swap for low carb diets or for weight loss.
To make your own kale chips, simply preheat your oven to 150C, wash and dry your kale, then tear into even sized chunks and add to a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and your preferred seasoning then bake for 20 minutes until nice and crispy!
8. Add a Sprinkle of Superfoods 🌱
One of the most convenient ways to get the goodness of greens everyday is to add a sprinkle of superfoods to your usual meals or drinks.
Whether fresh greens aren’t for you or are just something you don’t manage to enjoy everyday, one serving of our Clean Greens and Green Plant Protein is all you need to enjoy their benefits.
🌱 Clean Greens - A blend of 8 real food ingredients to provide your daily greens and optimise digestive health, immunity and overall wellness
🌱 Green Plant Protein - A unique blend of plant-proteins with Japanese matcha and refreshing super greens, with 20g complete vegan protein per serving
Adding one of these 8 suggestions to your usual healthy meals daily is a great way to try something new and enjoy the benefits of greens at the same time. By doing so you can give your body all it needs to thrive as well as bringing your taste buds some satisfaction too - what’s not to love?!