Health Resolutions, Live Consciously

The 7-Day ‘Eat Your Greens’ Challenge

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We loove our greens at Nutritious Life. Now, we’re challenging you to add more greens to your diet.

Here’s the challenge: For one week, add a green veggie to one meal every day. Follow with us for the step-by-step guide to doing it right.

The 7-Day Eat Your Greens Challenge

Day 1: Get Organized.

Head to the store, peruse the produce, load up on greens (at least three varieties!) and plan for the week. Broccoli rabe, kale, spinach, green beans … the options are plentiful. Decide when and how you’re going to incorporate your greens. Spinach breakfast scramble anyone? Broccoli rabe chips? Sautéed green beans with toasted walnuts as a side at dinner? Write it down, and be sure to get greens in at least once today.

greens

Here’s a few recipe ideas we love (to get you started!):

Raw Asparagus Salad with Broccoli Rabe – It’s a little known fact that instead of roasting or sauteing asparagus, you can peel the delicious veg into ribbons for a crunchy, satisfying addition to a salad that retains more nutrients.

Hearty Kale Salad with Crisp Apples and Spiced Pepitas – The dark green Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur kale or lacinato kale) in this recipe has a mild flavor but is loaded with vitamin A (for eye health and immune function), as well as vitamins B6, C and K plus manganese, copper, calcium and magnesium. Now that’s a powerhouse green!

Arugula Salad With Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts – Arugula is full of antioxidants and glucosinolates, the substances that give it its bitter flavor but also may protect against certain cancers. Add sweet potatoes for a stellar source of powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta carotene and other phytonutrients.

Chicken Stir-Fry With Spinach and Bok Choy – Bok choy is an underrated cruciferous veggie packed with nutrients– such as vitamins A, C and K, and lots of important minerals, plus phytonutrients that are linked to cancer prevention.

Greens Galore Salad Dressing – A super efficient way to get ALL your greens in!

RELATED: Fun, Healthy Recipes to Enjoy on St. Patty’s Day

Day 2: Keep it Simple.

Review your plan, and do some prep for the week. Chop kale for your go-to salad, for example, and wash and chop broccoli for dinner. If you’re saying, “Time? Yeah, right,” then order a side salad when ordering in. Remember that bagged, pre-washed organic lettuce is a life-saver.

Day 3: Do Your Research.

Research delicious, new, simple recipes to try. Find a new Instagram account to follow, crack open an old cookbook, or post something on social media to get your peeps to inspire you with ideas. New to the green juice craze, or looking for an easier way to sip your greens? Try the Greens Blend developed by our very own Keri Glassman. Just add one scoop into a glass of water and boom, check “greens” off your to-do list for the day.

Day 4: Branch Out.

Today, take it up a notch and experiment with a new type of green—try dandelion greens for your salad, collards to make a wrap, broccoli rabe in your scramble, Brussels sprouts for a dinner side dish, or endive as your hummus dipper.

Day 5: Ditch the Rice.

Replace a starchy side dish with a green side dish. If you’re eating out, ask for double greens instead of greens and a starch. This is a personal favorite tactic of mine. It’s a great way to get in a whole lot of greens and an even better way to ditch refined, starchy foods that are often doing a whole lot of nothing for your body.

Day 6: Have Fun With Flavor.

Season your greens. Experiment with new flavors—try oregano, chili pepper, garlic, rosemary, onion, salt and pepper, and lemon. Or toss some heart healthy nuts on top. Better yet, toast the nuts for enhanced flavor and easier digestion.

Day 7: Go All Out.

Challenge yourself as the week ends by incorporating a serving of greens into every meal for the day. Yep, every meal.

You did it! Congratulations on packing in your greens. We bet you feel good about it, don’t you? Tap into that feeling and keep it up. After all, there are so many reasons to make this a lifetime habit.

spring fruits and vegetables

Why You Should Challenge Yourself to Eat More Greens

Greens Fight Disease. Green veggies offer a powerful dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants and phytochemicals, which have been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and may help reduce the risk of cancer. The carotenoids in leafy greens, for example, act as antioxidants, slowing free-radical damage.

They’re Full of Nutrients. One cup of spinach has more than 1000% of your daily recommendation of vitamin K (for strong bones) and almost 300% of the daily recommendation of vitamin A (20/20 vision anyone?).

Greens are Hydrating and Filling. Leafy greens have a high water volume, which helps you stay hydrated. One study showed participants’ metabolic rates increased 30% within 10 minutes after drinking 17 ounces of water. The high fiber content in leafy greens not only leaves you feeling full for longer, it also helps keep things moving in the GI tract.

Greens Amp Up Your Weight Loss. All veggies offer multiple nutrients for very few calories, aiding in weight loss efforts. When it comes to greens, the more the merrier.

They Give Your Brain a Boost. One study found women who ate the most leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables had brains that were one to two years younger than those who ate fewer greens. Yep, eating more greens is a no-brainer. (Sorry, we had to.)

Greens Enhance Skin Health. Phytochemicals and antioxidants in green veggies can help protect your skin against UV damage by countering free radicals in your body to lessen the deterioration of skin’s vital components, like collagen and elastin. Say hello to greens and to gorgeous skin.

greens challenge

Bonus Tips

Get to Know Your Greens. Try to choose nutrient-dense, dark, leafy greens such as kale or spinach over less nutritious options such as iceberg lettuce. Iceberg is for beginners.

Ditch the Heavy Dressings. Don’t drench or fry your greens in excessive dressings or oils. What a shame it would be to lose all of the natural nutritional power. No mucking up your gorgeous veggies. It’s OK to use dressings and oils sparingly because you need some fat to absorb the fat soluble vitamins in greens.

There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Greens. Never worry about consuming too many greens. More is better, as long as you’re controlling the added fat, such as olive oil that you may dress your greens with.

Sip Green. While you’re embracing your green veggies, add a cup or two of green tea a day to keep up with the theme. You’ll get an extra kick of antioxidants.You can also try this Super Greens Green Juice. Unlike most green juices that are loaded with fruit, this one is strictly veggies with fresh lemon, ginger, and parsley for flavor.

(Images: Shutterstock)

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