Happy Earth Day, everyone! One of my favorite ways to celebrate is to fill my day with green. Check out some of my go-to ways to get some of my favorite greens into my everyday diet.
Guacamole – Guacamole is a well known favorite. Avocados are an incredible source of potassium and monounsaturated fatty acids. Though avocados contain healthy fat that is essential in our diet, a little bit goes a long way. I think we can all agree that once you start dipping chips into a bowl of guacamole. It is very difficult to stop. However, the serving size of an avocado is only 2 tablespoons. It is heart breaking, I know. Fear not, I have some tips on how to get your guac and keep your macronutrient intake in check at the same time!
- Toast! Kick your avocado toast up a notch with two spoonfuls of loaded guacamole (tomatoes, red onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, jalapenos, etc.) under a bed of vegetables such as raw spinach, sweet corn and some pico de gallo!
- Dip mindfully – Ditch the chips! Grab some crunchy, hydrating, fibrous veggies like cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, raw broccoli, carrots, etc. and dip them in your creamy, delicious guacamole. The crunch will satisfy you similarly to a tortilla chip and you will get full more quickly. Avoid the fat and sodium of a fried tortilla chip and get the benefits of the nutrient dense veggies all at once!
Broccoli – It is probably not a surprise that as an advocate for healthy eating, I am a huge fan of broccoli. Broccoli is packed with important vitamins such as vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as minerals such as folate, calcium and potassium. Here are some tips and tricks on how to make broccoli even more delicious.
- Cook it! I love to buy frozen broccoli florets for cooking. They are so easy! One of my favorite vegetables to roast is broccoli – the crispiness that develops on the top is to die for. Recently, I’ve been drizzling a little bit of balsamic vinegar on top of my veggies before roasting them and it has made them an absolutely delicious snack, side dish or mix in with whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
- Eat it raw! I am a big fan of dips. Check out some of my favorite dips here. Broccoli is also delicious to dip in hummus. The crunchiness and density of the vegetable pairs well with the creamy spread for a perfect combination of a plant-based protein and vegetable!
Edamame – I used to only think of edamame as a go-to appetizer at Asian restaurants. However, ever since I started buying edamame to keep in my own kitchen, I am never going back! Edamame is a soybean. Soy is a plant-based source of complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids! Edamame also is a great way to incorporate calcium, magnesium, folate, potassium and vitamin C into your diet. I like to buy it frozen and with the shells still on. I have found that these have the least amount of added salt! Plus, it is SO easy to prep these – all you have to do is combine them with some water and pop them in the microwave. Here are my favorite ways to eat edamame:
- Stir fry! Edamame is a delicious, easy ingredient to pop into my vegetable stir fry! Stir fry is great because it provides a filling dinner and a perfect leftover to throw over some brown rice for lunch the next day. (Tip: use cauliflower rice instead of normal rice in a stir fry to get extra veggies! Here is my favorite kind)
- Just the way they are! I like to bring a couple pieces of edamame on the go with me as a snack. They taste good at any temp and are an easy food to bring on the go.
Kale – Like broccoli, it is probably a surprise to no one that I am including kale in this article. Kale is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and fiber! As incredibly healthy as kale is, I am well-aware of how difficult it is to swallow sometimes. However, I have found some great ways to prepare kale that I would love for you guys to try!
- Make it a chip! Kale chips are one of my favorite food trends. Many companies have jumped onto this food trend train and are commercially selling some delicious products! My favorite is: Rhythm Superfoods. Or, you can pop them in the oven and make your own at home!
- Sautée it! One of my staple dinners when I am in a rush is to sautée a big head of kale and put it under a serving of whole wheat penne. Just a little bit of olive oil and salt can go a long way in terms of making the bitter taste of kale less harsh.
- Massage it! Now that the spring weather is (sort of) approaching, it is time to start thinking about summer salads again! My favorite salad in the summer is the massaged kale salad. All you have to do is put a large head of washed kale into a big salad bowl and massage olive oil and lemon juice into the kale with your hands. The leaves will shrink and soften exponentially. I usually top my salad with cherry tomatoes, feta, carrots and cucumbers. SO GOOD!
- Blend it up! And of course, it never hurts to pop a couple of kale leaves into your smoothie. Even if it really is just a couple, anything helps!
Olives – I love, love, love olives. I have become particularly obsessed with Whole Foods’ green olives with garlic and lemon. I was introduced to them at their Holiday Tasting event and let’s just say – I’m addicted! Olives are a great source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid and fat-solubl
e vitamin E. Though these are some important health benefits, olives are an easy way to get too much fat and salt too quickly.
Co-written by intern Maddie Metzger, Boston University Nutrition & Health student & Earth Day lover.