Nutritional Benefits of 5 Favorite Spring Greens

By Bridgette Clare, RHN on April 20, 2015 , categorized in Plant-based Nutrition

We’d like to take you back to a time earlier this year. That time is January. Are you there with us? Wonderful.  Remember all of those resolutions you made? Perhaps they were to eat more greens, make more homemade meals or try something new? Well don’t fear, it’s never too late to make a change. Even one small change, like adding a new green into your diet, can change everything. With that in mind and a resolve to try something new let’s talk about how you can expand your greens menu with one (or all) of these five greens.

Dandelion Greens

Greens-Images-Dandelion

Why We Love Them:

Dandelions are good for more than wishing on. They have many nutritional benefits which are why they might be your new go-to green for smoothies, salads and more. Throw one cup of chopped dandelion greens to your morning smoothie and you’ll have nutrients like 10% of your DV calcium and more than 30% of your DV of the antioxidant vitamin C.1United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Dandelion Greens. Accessed 21/08/16 from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2960?manu=&fgcd=

How to Enjoy Them:

There’re more ways than you know to incorporate dandelion into your diet; while bitter they’re quite versatile. If you’re trying them for the first time try adding them to a smoothie or juice with some fruits such as pineapple or banana to balance the bitterness of the greens.

Steaming is another option because removes some of the bitterness. If you’re going to enjoy them in a salad we recommend a splash of lemon juice.

 

Beet Greens

Greens-Images-Beets

Why We Love Them:

You can’t beat beet greens when it comes to antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C. Antioxidants are nutrients that help with the overall maintenance of good health. One cup offers nearly 50% of your recommended DV vitamin A and nearly 20% DV vitamin C.2United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Beet  Greens. Accessed 21/08/16 from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2867?manu=&fgcd=

How to Enjoy Them:

Beets are sweet and so are their greens. Instead of tossing your beet greens into the compost toss them into a smoothie like this whole beet smoothie instead. You can also toss them in some extra virgin olive oil and sauté or add them to a vegan pesto.

 

Arugula

Greens-Images-Arugula

Why We Love It:

Also known as rocket, arugula can get you ready for lift off or simply ready to take on the day with its nutritional benefits and unique taste. As a source of moisture, per cup arugula is 90% water which plays a role in your daily water intake to help you stay hydrated. So you’re ready to rock(et) and roll.3United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Arugula. Accessed 21/08/16 from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3569?man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&qlookup=&offset=&sort=&format=Abridged&reportfmt=other&rptfrm=&ndbno=&nutrient1=&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=&totCount=&measureby=&_action_show=Apply+Changes&Qv=1&Q6705=1&Q6706=1

How to Enjoy It:

Arugula has a slight sweet and peppery taste that lends itself well to other greens which is why you’ll often find it in pre-made lettuce mixes. Save yourself time and from that last minute crunch to get lunch with arugula in a Mason jar salad. If you’re looking for ways to add turmeric into your diet too try it in a dressing, drizzled on this arugula harvest salad.

 

Fiddleheads

Greens-Images-Fiddleheads

Why We Love Them:

Fiddleheads may be known for their unique shape but we think they should also be known for their asparagus-like taste and texture as well as their nutritional profile. You may be surprised to know that fiddleheads have protein. That’s right. Protein. 150 grams of fiddleheads offers 6.8 grams of protein.4United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Fiddlehead Fern. Accessed 21/08/16 from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3603?man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&qlookup=&offset=&sort=&format=Abridged&reportfmt=other&rptfrm=&ndbno=&nutrient1=&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=&totCount=&measureby=&_action_show=Apply+Changes&Qv=1.5

How to Enjoy Them:

Fiddleheads are best enjoyed cooked, sautéed or steamed. As easy way to enjoy them is just as you would asparagus, sautéed and lightly seasoned with a splash of lemon. You can also throw them into a springtime farmer’s market stir-fry similar to this one or in a green soup.

 

Pea Shoots

Greens-Images-Pea

Why We Love Them

Pea shoots may be young, delicate microgreens but that doesn’t mean they’re delicate on nutrition. Both micro and mature greens are part of the vegetable food group that offers many nutrients and is important as a part of a healthy balanced diet.5Nutrients and health benefits. (2015). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health 

How to Enjoy Them:

Pea shoots (or pea greens) are light, delicate and tender. They’re ideal for adding a light texture to salads, sandwiches and rolls. They can also be added to noodle bowls and stir-fries like the one above.

Overall, green smoothies are hands down the easiest way to expand your greens menu. You can substitute any of the greens above in your favorite green smoothie. Go ahead, play around in the kitchen and resolve to try something new. If you’re looking for some green smoothie inspiration check out this Ultimate Green Smoothie and this Apple Kale Green Smoothie.

Spring-Greens

Bridgette Clare, RHN

A Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Certified Raw Foods Chef and Vega Product Specialist, Bridgette Clare works at Vega as the Customer Experience Team Lead. Bridgette is passionate about making food fun and accessible. She believes what we eat has a huge impact on how we feel and whole heartedly supports a holistic approach to nutrition. Experimenting in the kitchen, sharing new recipes and enjoying new culinary experiences with friends is what she’s all about. Fun fact: Bridgette is always seeking out fun ways to stay active—trying out everything from circus school to testing out her indoor cycling teacher abilities!

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