Health Resolutions, Live Consciously

The 7-Day “Eat Your Greens” Challenge

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The Challenge: For one week, add a green veggie to one meal every day.

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.

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 Recipe 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 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 that I developed. 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.

greens

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 fave 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.

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. I 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.

Why You Should Challenge Yourself to Eat More Greens

Greens Fight Disease. Green veggies offer a powerful dose of fiber, and 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.

Be Like Popeye. One cup of spinach has more than 1000 percent of your daily recommendation of vitamin K (for strong bones) and almost 300 percent of the daily recommendation of vitamin A (20/20 vision anyone?).

Fill Up Until You’re Full. Leafy greens have a high water volume, which helps you stay hydrated. One study showed participants’ metabolic rates increased 30 percent within ten minutes after drinking 17 ounces of water. Their high fiber content not only leaves you feeling full for longer, it also helps keep things moving in the GI tract.

greens challenge

Amp 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.

Boost Your brain. 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. Yep, eating more greens is a no-brainer. Sorry, had to.

Promote 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.

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 Dressings. Don’t drench or fry your greens in dressings or oils. What a shame it would be to lose all of the natural nutritional power, right? No mucking up your gorgeous veggies.

There’s No Such Thing as Too Much. Never worry about consuming too many greens. More is better, as long as you’re controlling the added fat, such as olive oil.

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. Not feeling tea? Try Life’s Abundance Berry Flavored Greens Blend.

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