One of the most important things you can do to ensure your diet stays healthy and nutrient-rich is to eat more greens.
But it can be difficult to include enough of them in your daily diet. For those of us following a rawfood diet, we all know it’s easy to eat lots of that sweet succulent fruit, and those creamy avocados or nut-based sauces are hard to resist, but when it comes to green veggies they can be a little bit… let’s face it… boring…
So to give you some inspiration, here are nine ways to easily increase the amount of greens in your diet.
1. Green Smoothies
Let’s start with the blindingly obvious. Green smoothies have gone so mainstream nowadays that even my mum knows all about them. They are probably the easiest way to sneak some veggies into your diet. Just start with a run-of-the-mill fruit smoothie – banana perhaps – then add a handful of green leafy veg such as lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, or celery.
Rotate your greens so you’re getting a wide variety of veggies. As you get used to them you can increase the green content. Green smoothies are probably the easiest way to introduce more green vegetables into your daily routine.
2. Green juice
Another obvious one – although people often don’t really know the difference between juice and smoothies. A smoothie is simply blended fruit and veg, whereas the juicing process removes the insoluble fibre from the vegetables, leaving just the easily absorbed juice to rehydrate your body.
Fresh vegetable juice is an excellent way to inject a mineral boost into your system and can really help with cravings for salty or ‘junky’ food. Try juicing a few sticks of celery, a cucumber, a couple of carrots, an apple and a small chunk of ginger. Tastes amazing, and sets you up perfectly for the day.
Growing your own sprouts is a fantastic way of adding fresh live foods into your diet. Once a seed begins to germinate a treasure-chest of nutrients are unlocked. Its enzymes are activated, it becomes easier to digest and absorb, and makes a tasty addition to any salad. You don’t need any fancy equipment to start sprouting – you can simply use a glass jar. Start with easy sprouts such as sunflowers or lentils.
Microgreens are like sprouts’ big brother. Instead of growing your seeds in water, you grow them direct into trays of soil and let them get a bit bigger. They haven’t yet reached maturity, so they are super-fresh, excellent to juice, and extremely good for you.
The most popular microgreens are wheatgrass and sunflower greens. I also love to grow snow pea greens, broccoli, radish, fenugreek – there are so many more to choose from. For more information about how to grow microgreens, check out my blog here: http://rawfoodscotland.co.uk/microgreens/
5. Wild foods
You may not know it, but you are surrounded by some of the most densely nutritious green foods available – and they’re completely free! Whether it’s your own garden, a local park, or woodland area, wild edibles grow abundantly all over the place. However, you need to know what you’re doing of course. Check out local foraging courses in your area or buy a book such as Food for Free, so you can learn the basics of what to look for and what to avoid.
6. Awesome salads
If you become a whiz at making a deliciously tasty salad, you will look forward to enjoying them every day, rather than see them as a boring chore to eat. The secret to a great salad is in the dressing. If you get the dressing right, then everything else will fall into place.
Here are some tasty salad dressings to get you started: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/oil-free-dairy-free-salad-dressings/
Another fab tool in your salad making kit is a spiruliser. This will turn your veggies into noodles and help make your salad a thing of beauty.
If you’re on Instagram, check out my page @cherrytherapies, as I post daily pics and recipes of the salads and other food I eat.
7. Smoothie bowls
Speaking of Instagram, I should really mention that most photogenic dish of all – the smoothie bowl. Back in my day we used to call them fruit salads, but times have moved on and they’re not just a few chopped up oranges and apples anymore.
I often have a smoothie bowl for breakfast. It’s sometimes nice (and beneficial for digestion) to have something to chew on, rather than just slurping on a smoothie. I begin by picking out some fresh ripe fruit, chopping them up, then placing them in a bowl. This morning I chose pears (I tend to choose only one or two types of fruit, for optimal food combining). I then tore up about half a head of butterhead lettuce, added some green superfood powder and mixed it all together with some green juice. It’s like my version of breakfast cereal 🙂
8. Superfood powders
If you have the money to spare, then green superfood powders can be an easy shortcut to adding more greens into your diet. They are getting increasingly popular nowadays, so you can not only find them online, but in your local health store too.
There are a confusingly vast array of brands to choose from, and some may be poorer quality with lots of cheap fillers included, so it’s good to check the ingredients. I personally like the old classic superfood powders such as Pure Synergy and Vitamineral Green.
9. Herbal teas and infusions
I love to drink a nice cuppa tea first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s a British thing? Although my kind of tea is not your usual Tetleys. Each morning I fill a pot with a mixture of fresh and dried herbs and edible weeds, add pure water, and heat it gently on the stove. It’s usually the first thing I have in the morning. By using lots of fresh herbs in my tea I feel this is a great way to start the day; it increases my greens intake, and feels so much more satisfying than plain water. Plus, it’s nice and warming when the weather is cooler (which, around here, is most of the time).
If you’re following a strictly raw diet you can make an infusion (or ‘sun tea’) by adding herbs to a jar of water and leaving it in a sunny warm place.
So – there are a few of my tips for eating more greens. Did I forget any? What are your favourite ways to squeeze a bit more greenness into your life? Let me know in the comments below.
Here’s a challenge for you – see if you can start adding some greens into every meal, and reap the benefits of all those extra veggies in your diet.
Lisa Murphy is a counsellor, hypnotherapist and coach who specialises in stress, anxiety, and healthy eating. For more details of Lisa's therapies and courses please visit www.CherryTherapies.com