Salad Days

When I think of salads, I think of them being loaded with dark green, leafy lettuces such as romaine and spinach. My favorite is the Caesar salad which consists mainly of romaine lettuce. This salad has had a huge resurgence in recent years because it is both delicious and versatile. It is used as a salad and in wraps, can be a side dish or main course and may be eaten plain or by adding a lean protein such as grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon. If you eat salads to enjoy the nutritional benefit of vegetables without a lot of calories, keep in mind that toppings and dressings can have quite a bit of calories, so add them in reasonable portions such as by the  tablespoon or teaspoon.

Kale Olive Salad
Kale Olive Salad / Kari Sullivan / CC BY 2.0

Dark green, leafy vegetables are considered among the healthiest food choices. This is reflected in one of the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. These richly colored vegetables are especially good sources of vitamins A, C, and K and folate and the minerals iron and calcium as well as fiber that help to promote heart health and prevent certain types of cancer. Americans do not get enough of these vitamins and minerals in our diets, so eating dark green, leafy vegetables is a great way to enjoy these important nutrients. Remember the darker the color of the vegetable, the more nutrition it has.

Examples of dark green, leafy vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

Easy ways to enjoy dark green, leafy vegetables:

  • Add to soups & stews
  • Fold into a wrap
  • Steam
  • Stir-fry
  • Toss in a salad

The next time you shop, take the time to stand back and look at the lush colors of these vegetables in the produce section. Pluck out a dark green, leafy vegetable that you haven’t tried and prepare it at home. Share your experience with us as a comment on this blog post. Healthy eating! I look forward to hearing from you!