Leafy greens include kale, spinach, collards, swiss chards and a few others.
They have several properties that make them perfect for a weight loss diet, such as being low in calories and carbohydrates and loaded with fiber.
Eating leafy greens is a great way to increase the volume of your meals, without increasing the calories. Numerous studies show that meals and diets with a low energy density make people eat fewer calories overall.
Leafy greens are also incredibly nutritious and very high in many vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, including calcium, which has been shown to aid fat burning in some studies
Whether it’s the grocery store, your weekly veggie box, or a local farmer’s market, leafy greens are everywhere this time of year. And since Canada’s new food guide recommends eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, you’ll be well on your way if you pick up some of these nutrient-dense options.
But what can you do with them? Here are some ideas to help you through a forest of greens.
Leafy greens won’t last long in the fridge so you need to decide whether you’re going to:
- Eat them up this week, or
- Blanch and freeze them for later.
Step 1: Wash and Trim
- Wash your greens well in a bowl of cold water to remove any dirt or sand caught in the leaves. If you plan on making a salad, dry the leaves in a salad spinner or with a clean kitchen towel. There’s no need to dry the leaves if you plan on cooking them.
- Remove the tough stems from the leaves. You can cut away the stems with a knife or rip the leaves off the stems with your hands (this is a great task for kids).
- If the leaves are tough, slice them finely. Otherwise, cut or tear them into bite sized pieces.
Step 2: Get Cooking
When it comes to using up a bunch of greens, try cooking them because the greens shrink down a lot during cooking. Here are five meal ideas for cooking up greens at home.
- Spanakopita: I love the traditional Greek spinach pie. I also like to use kale or Swiss chard instead of spinach and cook it into a log shape. This dish is highly adaptable and can use up a lot of greens.
- Stir Fry: Sturdy greens like kale, Swiss chard or collards are great substitutes for bok choy or gai lan in stir fries.
- Pasta: Dark greens cook up well with pasta. Add them to your tomato sauce or sauté them in olive oil and serve with a sharp cheese.
- Soup: Kale and potato soup is a comforting dish on a cool night. White beans, sweet potato or sausage also pair well with kale and collards.
- Egg Dishes: Add lightly cooked Swiss chard or spinach into quiche, omelets or egg muffins (‘omelets’ baked in muffin tins).
So there you have it, five greens-based meal ideas to take you through the week and use up your stack of dark leafy greens.