I know it may sound clichéd, but green vegetables really are powerful weapons against disease. They’re also great for those of us who want to stay looking young and vibrant! Green veggies contain compounds that keep our bodies looking and feeling healthy from the inside out. So let’s bump up our greens this month and find out just how delicious and satisfying these low-calorie gems can be.
Here are my top four green vegetables for spring:
1. Cabbage: Green cabbage, which is a cruciferous vegetable, is well known for its cancer-fighting properties, and at only 32 calories per cup, you do NOT need to watch your portion size. My favorite method for cooking cabbage is simply steaming it in a small amount of vegetable or chicken broth. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how delicious it can be!
2. Avocados: The primary ingredient in guacamole is also exploding with omega-3 fatty acids, which are not only heart healthy but will also help your skin appear youthful and dewy. Since a typical avocado contains about 300 calories, you should keep an eye on your portion size, but don’t fret too much since the calories you’ll be consuming are nutrient-packed. I love to slice a ripe avocado onto a salad or sandwich, or, of course, mash it into a simple guacamole dip.
3. Green Beans: Mushy over-cooked green beans or canned green beans can be a tough sell, but raw beans can be a delicious, crunchy pre-dinner snack. You can also lightly steam them and top them with a touch of olive oil and lemon to make their flavor burst. To make these veggies even more appealing, you should know that they provide a mere 31 calories per cup and support food sustainability, since most of them are domestically produced.
4. Spinach: I saved spinach, the mother of all nutritional powerhouses, for last. This green leafy vegetable is as strong as they come — Popeye was onto something big! Just one cup of cooked spinach will provide you with 20 percent of your daily iron needs, fight cancer by slowing down cell division, control blood pressure, and fight infections by boosting your immunity. There is just no excuse to leave this leaf out of your diet! I happen to prefer my spinach cooked as opposed to raw (unless it’s baby spinach, which I like on salads). I lightly sauté fresh or frozen spinach in olive oil, garlic and a splash of chicken stock for about 3-4 minutes. You simply can’t go wrong.