Looking to rev up your diet with a nutrient-filled, low-calorie food this spring? Look no further than to leafy greens! In the March/April addition of Food & Nutrition magazine, leafy greens have been dubbed “nutrition rockstars.” Not only do they top the charts in vitamins A, C and K, they’re loaded with potassium and fiber with only 5-40 calories per cup. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming at least 1 1/2 cups of dark green vegetables per week, so eat up!
Here are a few leafy greens that peak in Spring
Chard: Sometimes called “silverbeet,” chard provides vitamins A and K, magenesium, and potassium. Tender chard can be eaten raw in salads, while mature chard cooks fairly quickly and is paired nicely with lemon juice and olive oil
Spinach: As we approach the warmer months, raw spinach is 91 percent water and a natural hydrator. Spinach is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium and fiber. Enjoy raw spinach in salad or sandwiches.
Romaine Lettuce: This lettuce is best eaten raw, and is a good source of folate and vitamin K. To avoid the release of ascorbic acid oxidase, which destroys vitamin C, it is recommended that you tear the leaves opposed to cutting them. It’s the perfect crunchy leaf for a salad on a warm spring day.
Post by Tessa Barron, reviewed by Jan Hangen MS, RD, LDN. Jan Hangen is a Clinical Nutrition Specialist with over 20 years experiencing working with children, adolescents and adults to provide personalized nutrition counseling. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Jan, please call 617-566-7100
1. Moore M. “Leafy Greens- Nutrition Rock Stars.” Food and Nutrition Magazine. Mar.-April. 2014: 22-23
2. Leidy HJ, Armstrong CL, Tang M, Mattes RD, Cambell WW: The influence of higher protein intake and greater eating frequency on appetite control in overweight and obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010, 18:1725-1732
3. Purslow LR, et al. Energy intake at breakfast and weight change: Prospective study of 6,764 middle-aged men and women. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2008;167:188
4. Kant AK, et al. Association of breakfast energy density with diet quality and body mass index in American adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surverys, 1999-2004. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;88:1396
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