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Easy Ways to Get More Green Into Your Diet

When your mom told you to eat your greens when you were a kid, did you just push them around your plate until she gave up, or sent you to your room? Even if you think you're anti-veggie, we hope we can surprise you with some easy ways to get more green into your diet. After all, most green, leafy vegetables contain lots of good, low-calorie stuff that should be the basis for your diet. Vitamins like K, A, C, folate, calcium, iron and even fiber are found in veggies like arugula, spinach, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, and swiss chard. They may not have very appetizing-sounding names, but here are easy ways to painlessly add them to your diet, and hopefully even convince you of how yummy they are.

Add spinach to every sandwich, but not the Popeye canned kind. Just throw a few fresh spinach leaves onto any sandwich, except peanut butter. Cold sandwiches and wraps go well with spinach, and even toasted sandwiches or grilled paninis benefit from the bright green vegetable, and look prettier with it, too. Kale and spinach are also good additions to pasta. At the last minute, throw a handful (you need more than you think) onto hot, cooked pasta before you pour on the sauce or add protein. It will wilt enough to mix in to your regular recipe, adding color and vitamins, but without dominating the taste.

Any time you order out in a restaurant, tack on a side salad or a side of steamed green vegetables like broccoli. Even if it doesn't particularly appeal to you, just make yourself order it, and you can mix it into your real meal any way you want: you'll be surprised at how easy well steamed vegetables mesh with rice, pasta, stir fry and other main dishes. The main rule to remember is that you shouldn't completely replace all the foods you like with green vegetables: just by adding them to your favorite recipes, you'll get the nutrients you need. If you're trying to lose weight, start using greens like spinach as the basis for your meal. Top the salad with healthy but tasty ingredients like black beans, chick peas, raw or steamed veggies, hummus, sprouts, shrimp or other lean proteins.

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