Welcome, Granger Fitness Fam to the second edition of the Back to Basics series! This week we are tackling GREENS, why they’re great, and how to easily slip more of these little leafy wonders into our everyday diets.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone knows we should have greens in our diet, but 80% of adults are not eating enough greens. The off-the-charts benefits of regular veggie eating may not be as well known. I believe (and hope) that the knowledge of the benefits will kick us into gear and motivate a dietary change in our lives! We need to be better to ourselves.
Greens are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals. And it’s these vitamins and minerals that aid in all areas of your overall health. Here are some of the benefits:
For you muscle builders out there, greens help your body efficiently absorb the protein and amino acids you’re putting in it. That means that more greens equals efficient protein absorption, which equals enhanced muscle building and recovery! Is spending money on protein powder and chicken really worth it if your body isn’t even efficiently using the protein?
If the protein absorption alone isn’t enough, some greens have more calcium than any dairy product. The giant benefit? The calcium in plants doesn’t come with the intestine and inflammatory issues that come with your traditional, glass-of-milk calcium source.
What you put into your body is what is responsible for nourishing all of it, and that means your skin too! Ensuring regular helpings of dark, leafy greens into your diet aids in achieving glowing skin. Green veggies also contain vitamin C, which is collagen building. Goodbye wrinkles and early signs of aging!
And for anyone out there who just loves to eat: firstly, I get you, I am you, let’s chow. Secondly (and more seriously), you can eat virtually as many greens as you want without damaging your weight loss goals.
Here’s how to get these dang greens into your diet. It’s actually really simple to incorporate plenty of greens everyday. You better read carefully because you’re doing this this week. I mean it Granger Fitness Fam.
The most basic and easiest way to eat greens is just to eat them. Aim to have at least one meal a day as a giant salad with as many different mixed greens as you can get your healthy little hands on. Remember that you’re not starving yourself for health! Eat as big of a salad as you can, incorporate healthy fats like seeds and avocado and some olive oil, and toss it with some pink salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you enjoy. It’s good.
You don’t need to enter full-blown bunny mode unless you really want to, but at least have a side salad with every meal. Eating more greens isn't necessarily about giving up the food you love (unless the food you love is twinkies in which case definitely give them up), it’s about adding food that loves you back! So, have your roasted potatoes and your grilled chicken, but have a salad with it. My trick is to eat all of my salad first. It forces me to eat what I need, and allows me to really enjoy the savory stuff last.
Buy protein+greens! There are plenty of protein powders out there, and for every brand, there probably is a protein+greens powder. Yes, whole foods are the best option for us all around, but purchasing the "+greens” option of the protein powder you’re already buying is a simple, no-fuss way to eat more greens.
And finally, for my personal favorite trick (drumroll please): eat your meals on a bed of greens! This means loading up your plate with some chopped up greens before you even put your main dishes on it. For me, this looks like eating some savory comfort foods, especially as the weather shifts into fall, without sacrificing my wellness. Last night’s dinner was a pea protein vegan burger and some garlic-y stir-fried veggies on a bed of mixed greens and herbs. Today’s lunch was edamame pasta with a garden vegetable sauce that I added tomatoes, green onions, baby broccoli, and fresh basil to on a bed of baby butter lettuce and baby spinach. And it was bomb. And it’s the photo for this blog post actually.
Eating greens doesn’t have to be boring and bland; it doesn’t have to be restrictive; and it doesn’t have to be challenging either. This week Granger Fitness Fam, I encourage you to add greens to every meal and feel the results in your body! Allow yourself not to fall victim to your typical eating habits. Add a handful of dark leafy greens to every meal to you consume this week!
To eat well is a form of self-love
To eat well is absolutely a form of self-love. Do you care enough about yourself to actually nourish your body? Love yourself enough to step up your eating game. I dare you.