You've likely heard it before: Getting greens in your diet is an important step to a healthy eating routine. We're not saying you have to eat salads everyday – but making a few swaps can get you on a healthier track and benefit many different aspects of your health. Whether you're a Veteran looking to reduce symptoms from a service-connected condition or simply looking for a boost of nourishing nutrients, these simple substitutions make getting your daily veggies easier.
Reasons to add more greens into your diet
Spinach, kale, broccoli – there's a reason we're told to incorporate these classics, among others, into our diets. But what's the benefit?
Well, to name just a few, green vegetables are…
High in fiber
Full of antioxidants
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Low in calories but high in nutrients
Beneficial for weight loss (Remember, Veterans: Obesity can count as an intermediate step that links a current diagnosis to time in service)
… All of which can seriously boost your system. Diet and nutrition have a massive impact on our mental health, too – which means that a nutritious diet works to benefit both our mental and physical health.
You could always chop up a salad to pair with your favorite protein, but these 5 ways to get more greens in your diet are quick and easy:
Green juices and smoothies
If you're not a fan of the flavor of greens – this might be your route. Green juices and smoothies combine fruits and vegetables to provide a quick boost of vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, blend easily alongside fruit of your choice.
Green juice can help lower cholesterol, improving the ratio between HDL to LDL cholesterol. Just be mindful of the sugar content with smoothies and try to strike a balance between fruits and vegetables. Try one of these 14 green smoothie recipes.
Not only are veggie-based soups good for upping your greens intake, they can also be a complete plant or animal-based protein source depending on what you include. Whether you leave the greens whole to cook in broth or blend it all up into a creamy bisque, soup can be a superfood.
If you're after a low-carb alternative, you can use large leafy greens such as kale or collard greens instead of tortillas for wraps. If that's a little too green for your liking (we understand), spinach-infused wraps combine leafy greens with traditional tortilla dough to form a healthier alternative. These bright green wraps are lower in calories, higher in fiber, and often just as tasty as their regular counterparts. You probably won't even taste a difference.
Green snacks and sides
Incorporating greens into a recipe takes a little bit more effort, but these quick and easy green snacks are truly grab-n-go:
Celery sticks and peanut butter
Broccoli or cucumbers with ranch dip or hummus
Roasted brussels sprouts
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