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You’ve probably heard that leafy green vegetables are good for you, but having a tossed salad every day gets a little boring…right?

Check out our tips below for easy and tasty ways to make sure you eat greens every day. Greens are for more than just salads!

What are leafy greens?

When it comes to leafy greens, there are many tasty options. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Having a wide variety of plants in your diet is important for gut health.

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Romaine
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Collard greens
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Rapini
  • Mustard greens

Why are leafy greens good for me?

Leafy greens are packed with nutrition. Greens are high in:

  1. Fibre:
    • Fibre helps to feed our gut bacteria to keep the gut happy and healthy.
  1. Vitamins and minerals:
    • Including vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, calcium, iron, potassium and Vitamin K.
  1. Phytochemicals:
    • These are compounds found in plant foods that benefit our health in many ways.
      • act as antioxidants
      • fight inflammation
      • protect against heart disease
      • reduce cancer risk

Give me some non-salad solutions!

A good goal is to eat 1-2 cups (250-500 mL) of leafy green vegetables every day.

Don’t get us wrong, we do love a good salad.  However, greens are more versatile than you might realize.

  • Drink them up.
    • Try adding greens to your next smoothie. Trust us- it’s delicious!
    • Choose milder tasting greens like spinach or kale rather than bitter tasting greens like arugula or mustard greens.
    • If you don’t have a high-powered blender, stick to softer greens like spinach or romaine rather than something with tougher leaves like kale to make sure you get a super smooth result.
    • Skip the green juice. Juice does contain vitamins and phytochemicals but is missing the beneficial fibre, protein and healthy fats that you get from a well-made smoothie (check out our recipe below).
  • Wilt them down.
    • If you don’t love the texture of raw greens, cooking them can help soften them and reduces the volume so it seems like a smaller amount to eat.
    • Simply cut your greens up into bite sized pieces and stir them in to a dish you already love at the end of cooking. They only need a few minutes to cook through.
    • Pasta sauces, soups/stews, stir fries and scrambled eggs are all great places to add some in.
    • Skip using romaine for this method. It doesn’t hold up well when heated.
  • Use them to scoop.
    • Leafy greens are a great vehicle for other tasty dishes. Try using romaine leaves or butter lettuce as cups to scoop other foods into.
    • Asian-inspired lettuce cups are a classic option or try topping lettuce cups with taco fillings or your favourite tuna salad.
  • Make them crispy.
    • Kale chips are an easy, savoury snack that are loved by all. Don’t be surprised if you eat a whole baking sheet of greens this way- they’re addictive!
    • Check out the recipe at the bottom of the post to give them a try.

Tolerance Tips

Because greens are very high in fibre, they may not be well tolerated by people with IBS or people with IBD who are in a flare. If you find greens hard on your gut, try these tips.

  • Start with a small amount (1/4 cup) and work your way up slowly. Don’t worry about eating 1-2 cups right away. A little bit of greens is better than none!
  • Blending or cooking may make greens easier to tolerate.
  • If you’re still having trouble or have been advised to avoid leafy greens by your health care team, then focus on other healthy foods right now. Eventually, when you are feeling better make greens a priority food to re-introduce.

Now that you know the why and how of all things leafy green, how will you make sure to get them in each day? Leave a comment below telling us your favourite way to eat good-for-you greens.

Creamy Green Smoothie (serves 1)

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup (250 mL) leafy greens
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) almond butter
  • ½ Tbsp (7 mL) honey or maple syrup

Optional add ins: 1 scoop protein powder, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground flax or flax oil, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) hemp hearts.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. For a thicker smoothie, use

frozen fruit or add ice. If the smoothie is too thick, add more water or liquid of your choice.

Seasoned Kale Chips (serves 1)

  • ¼ bunch of kale
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) onion powder
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) nutritional yeast (optional, for a cheesy flavour)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Separate the kale leaves from the tough stalks and tear the leaves into large pieces.

In a bowl, drizzle kale pieces with oil and the rest of the ingredients. Massage to combine and make sure all parts of the kale leaves are coated with oil. Place the kale on the baking sheet, making sure the pieces do not overlap.

Bake the kale for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the pan and bake for another 10 minutes but watch the kale closely. Every oven is different and the kale can burn quickly if left in too long. Your kale may need more or less time. Wait for it to become firm and crispy but not burnt.

Let cool for a few minutes once done baking and enjoy right away!