No matter what kind of a diet you follow, be it a standard American one, vegetarian, paleo or any other type, there’s one type of food you should eat every day. One food that almost all nutritionists agree on it's benefits. Green vegetables and a few other green foods. Green foods are low in calories, don’t mess with your insulin levels, and are an important source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. By consuming green foods, you alkalize your body, help your digestive system function properly, get rid of toxins and manage your appetite more easily. There are numerous studies published online, explaining that green foods benefit your health. An even better strategy is to test it and try for yourself. After a few weeks of consuming enough green foods, you’ll definitely feel much healthier and energetic.
The first rule regarding green foods is that you should consume primary fresh and organic green foods from a trusted source. It may be a little bit more expensive, but it’s definitely worth the price. Not only is the taste that much better, organic foods from a trusted source also have more vitamins and minerals and don’t contain unnecessary pesticides and other toxins. The difference in taste is very obvious if you buy a piece of green food in a big supermarket or at a local organic farm.
All organic green food most often has a slightly stronger and distinctive taste. If you don’t like the taste of green foods in general, organic ones may be an even bigger challenge. But have no worries. Your taste can change. After eating green foods for several weeks, you’ll start to love them. With every meal, things will get easier and easier. They may even become your favorite food. Remember, the hard road becomes easy and the easy road becomes hard.
Besides, you have so many options. You should definitely find a few green foods that you like to start with. Kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, green peppers, green peas, alfalfa sprouts as well as avocados and green olives. Let’s also add green tea, and there are definitely a few other green foods that I forgot to mention.
The second rule is that green foods should be on your plate in big enough quantities (let’s say 20-30 % of your food) at least in 3 out of 5 meals every day. If you don’t follow this rule, you’ll never eat enough veggies and green foods. There’s only so much salad you can eat at once. So plan your meals in advance and go to restaurants where you can always order something green. Even more importantly, always have green foods in your fridge.
You have five main options for how you can add green foods to your meals:
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Green salad is definitely a way to start increasing your daily dose of green veggies. It’s popular, easy to get at restaurants, shops and to make at home. You should eat green salad every day as a side dish to your lunch. It will help you digest other foods more easily, you’ll feel better for eating something healthy and you’ll be full sooner and consequently probably consume less calories. Eat your salad first, before you start with meat, potatoes/rice or whichever food you have on your plate for lunch.
Green salad is also an excellent very light and not too caloric dinner. But don’t eat too late and don’t use unhealthy and high calorie dressings. Always use lime and olive oil with your green salad as a great source of healthy fats. And if you need a healthy snack, you can always stop at a salad bar and enjoy tasty foods.
My second favorite source of green foods is green soup. I just love broccoli soup. You can eat a healthy green soup for breakfast, before lunch or even for your dinner. You can make a soup from one type of veggies or mix many green veggies. There are numerous recipes you can find online. It doesn’t take long and you don’t need advanced cooking skills to make a healthy and tasty green soup. If salad is the perfect food choice in a hot summer, then green soup is perfect for a cold winter.
Fresh green soup, prepared just before you eat it, is definitely the best option and the tastiest one. But we live in extremely busy times. So I always have a cup of healthy green homemade soup in the freezer. When I’m super busy and need something hot and healthy to eat, I just take the frozen soup out of the freezer and warm it up on the stove. You can feel that the food was frozen, but it’s definitely still a better option than a bag of chips.
If I go eat in a restaurant and they have vegetable soup on the daily menu, I almost always order it as a starter. But I always ask the waiter whether the soup is fresh and make sure that it’s not made from instant powders or similar unhealthy surrogates. If they lie, I don’t eat the soup.
Green side dishes
You can almost always add healthy green foods to your meals, be it cooked broccoli, barbecued cucumbers, cup of green olives or tasty peas as a side dish. If you eat at home, you can always cook something green. If you eat outside, look for cooked or barbecued vegetables or side dishes like the before-mentioned green peas or spinach. If they don’t have anything on the menu, go back to salad. If they don’t even have salad, change the restaurant.
In restaurants, green foods are never as tasty as when you prepare them at home. But it’s still a better option than a dessert filled with sugars. At home, you can also get a little bit creative and make different veggie sauces. And raw zucchini with hummus is always a great healthy snack.
Green smoothie and juices
A very good way to consume green veggies are also green smoothies and green juices. But first of all, five bananas and one leaf of spinach is not considered a green smoothie. The real green smoothie should consist of at least 80 % of green foods. For a better taste, you can help yourself with avocado and maybe some low-sugar fruits like berries.
A green smoothie is probably the best healthy snack you can make. Just don’t get carried away with adding a ton of fruit, honey or other types of sugar. The good news is that you can also mix much bigger quantities of green foods than you can eat in a regular form. You can find many recipes for green smoothies online and you can easily add superfoods into your daily smoothie. Your body will be so grateful for your healthy choices.
If you really don’t manage to eat enough green veggies throughout the day, the last resort is the green drink. The green drink is nothing but a blend of green vegetables, grasses and low-sugar foods. It’s a basic supplement invented with the purpose of helping you meet your daily veggie needs.
Real healthy organic foods are definitely a much better option, but if you somehow miss your daily green veggies intake, you can help yourself with the green drink. Always make sure you buy the green drink from a quality and trusted brand. There are unfortunately too many scams in the supplement industry, which probably also includes the green drink.
The taste of the green drink is quite terrible. I guess there must be some kind of punishment for not eating enough veggies during the day. You do get used to the taste eventually, but if you don’t, you can find many recipes for different smoothies and juices to which you can add the green blend. Here, you can find more info on the green drinks and here you can find more information about other supplements I regularly use.
The only way you’re going to stay self-disciplined in increasing the green food intake in the beginning is if you plan your meals in advance to some extent. You have to plan which green foods you will eat with your meals at least 3 out of 5 times. Therefore, do the following:
- Go to the websites of the restaurants you visit most often. Skim through the menu. Find a salad, side dish or any other green food you can order next time.
- Find a few recipes for green salads, green soups and green smoothies that grab your attention. Print or save the recipes.
- Update your shopping list. If necessary, find an organic farm or a whole foods market near you that can supply you with healthy veggies. Make sure that 20 % of the content in your fridge is green. That doesn’t include beer cans of your favorite brand if they’re green by coincidence.
- Test, experiment, play. Observe if you feel any better and more energetic after consuming more green veggies. Observe how your taste changes. Learn new cooking skills. Love your veggies. And enjoy your new healthy lifestyle!