June 22, 2017

A fresh take on greens: Four swaps you need to try

Food Healthy Eating

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Various leafy vegetables Svetl /iStock.com

Greens are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that greens are an essential part of a healthy diet. If eating your greens is a daily struggle, it may be time to mix things up and try something new.

Here are some fresh ideas that will make greens more than just a requirement:

Done with iceberg? Try romaine.

Salad is all about the crunch. But let’s be real — if you’re having a salad, you’re most likely doing it because it’s healthy. So why not make your roughage work a little harder? Romaine has a mild flavor and a big crunch and is the perfect upgrade for those of us who turn up our nose at bitter greens. The calorie count is the same as iceberg (8 calories per cup, chopped) but romaine will get you more than 80 percent of your daily value of vitamin A.

Over mixed greens? Try bok choy.

OK, OK, this isn’t your first salad rodeo. You’ve been tossing romaine, arugula and baby spinach into your salads for ages. But here’s a green that you might not have tried raw: bok choy, also called Chinese cabbage. It’s sturdy enough to stand up to being soaked in dressing, making it the ideal green for a packed lunch salad. It also packs 50 percent of your daily value of vitamin C.

Tired of kale? Try mustard greens.

Do you dutifully pick up a bunch of kale every time you go to the supermarket? Has eating that kale become a similar drudge? It’s time to spice up your side dish. Mustard greens, as the name implies, are an alternative with attitude. These peppery leaves can be prepared in the same way that you cook kale and work wonderfully in Asian stir-fries. One cup of cooked mustard greens provides 11 percent of the daily value for fiber, 346 percent of the daily value for vitamin A and 59 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.

Bored with broccoli rabe? Try collards.

So, you’ve forged your way through a forest of chewy, crunchy, bitter and spicy … where do you go now? Maybe it’s time to mellow out with some traditional collard greens. They take a bit of time to cook, but the result is sweet and silky and darn good for you, too: 1 cup of prepared collards offers substantial amounts of vitamins A, C and B-6, calcium, iron, magnesium and even some protein.

Feel like food is a battle? See a dietitian for free!

Did you know that Independence members get six free nutrition counseling sessions a year?* You can search for a participating registered dietitian using our online provider directory.

* Not all employers offer nutrition counseling visits as part of their benefits plans. Please contact customer service or your benefits administrator to determine if this benefit applies to your coverage.

Source for all nutritional data: USDA.com


About Rebecca Finkel

I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb and kosher, yet I fall again and again to the allure of the Reuben. As I get older, I’m learning to take a more omnivorous approach to health, but I still love writing about new trends in diet, fitness and wellbeing.


This content was originally published on IBX Insights.