By Carly Paige, health coach and chef
Health is often symbolized by the color green, and for a good reason. While we know that eating the rainbow will ensure a variety of nutrients, this one color stands out among the rest. This spring, focus on including more green on your plate for a little pep in your step!
Leafy greens, green vegetables, and even herbs can be a catalyst for transforming your health from the inside out. These benefits include reducing inflammation, naturally detoxing the body, boosting digestive health while reducing belly bloat, and giving your skin an enviable glow.
Tips for Going Green (on Your Plate)
Grow your own. How many times have you bought herbs at the grocery store, only to leave them sitting untouched for days? Instead, visit your local farmers market or garden shop and pick out a few herbs to keep potted and on hand. I enjoy using dill to flavor roasted salmon, mint for a refreshing infused water, and basil to garnish a light pasta dish.
Build a better foundation. Whether you’re ordering a burrito bowl out or making a power bowl at home, add leafy greens first to add bulk to your plate without excess calories. Adding volume with leafy greens will help keep you satisfied for the long haul.
Go micro. Traditionally used as a garnish, microgreens are good for more than just making the plate look pretty. Studies have shown that they are up to 40 times more powerful than their grown counterpart! Microgreens are a great way to add flavor and nutrients without taking up much space on your plate.
Blend, baby. One of the easiest ways to include more greens is where you might least expect it – your blender. Smoothies are what I call “liquid nutritional gold.” They are easy to make on-the-go and are packed with energy-boosting nutrients, if built the right way. My go-to smoothie formula is: a handful of leafy greens + 1 cup frozen fruit or less + protein + healthy fat + 1 cup unsweetened liquid. Try this recipe from my cookbook, Simply Swapped Everyday, next time you’re craving a tropical escape:
Detox Greens Smoothie
1 cup baby spinach
¼ cup cilantro
¼ cup parsley
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
½ frozen banana
½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup coconut water
Optional: ½ scoop protein powder or 1 scoop collagen powder for additional protein.
Get your roast on. One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is by roasting them. Roasted vegetables are easy to prepare and very low maintenance once in the oven. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and kale are all delicious options here. You could go basic with a drizzle of avocado oil, sprinkle of salt and pepper, or add other spices, such as paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and nutritional yeast for a zesty flair. Roast at 400 degrees for a crispy exterior and soft interior on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup!
Go green while out and about. Health-focused restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, and I hope this is a trend that’s here to stay a while. A few of my go-to local restaurants for a green-powered meal includes: The Sanctum Café (highly recommend the Shiva Salad), and Fresh Kitchen and Bolay (both similar concepts where you can create your own bowl with a green-base option).
Whether you’re at home or dining out, make going green a focus to spring clean your diet for a healthier, more vibrant you in 2020!
Carly Paige, integrative nutrition health coach and chef, is on a mission to redefine healthy through her Simply Swapped Method to increase confidence and energy from within. She is the author of best-selling cookbook Simply Swapped Everyday, a lifestyle guide that includes more than 75 simple, plant-powered recipes that can be customized to any dietary preferences. Carly hosts corporate workshops and regular cooking classes in the Orlando area. To learn more about Carly, visit fitlivingeats.com or find her on Instagram @fitlivingeats.