Healthy Greens for Everybody

Fresh green smoothie in the glass“Yes, in fact, I AM the boss of you!”

That is what I wanted to scream the first time I heard Mr. Rinaldi say, “You’re not the boss of me!” But after 21 years of being married and hearing it every time I try to get him to eat vegetables, I’ve given up on fighting and taken to hiding greens in most of his meals in such a way that he is not aware of it.

Hey, if he’s going to act like a 5-year-old then I’m gonna respond like the mother of a 5-year-old.

Frankly I don’t understand his aversion to green things. I love vegetables and greens in particular. One of the easiest ways for me to sneak greens into his diet is to add them to smoothies and juices. It doesn’t have to be a lot; greens are packed with vitamins and phytonutrients, so a little bit goes a long way. I’ve also minced them and added them to sauce for pasta, in soup, minced and mixed into other salad toppings, in fritattas – the way I see it, if it’s chopped small enough it’s too hard to pick out. And since he actually does like spinach, I often sneak two or three other greens into any recipe that calls for spinach.

Here are some of my favorite greens:

  • Kale – Loaded with vitamin C, kale brings a bright note to soups and stews. Use the leaves only and toss the stems, and remember to go light if you’re adding it to juices or smoothies as it can bring up a bitter note.
  • Beet Greens – Potassium and iron rich, these make a great addition to anything that calls for spinach.
  • Swiss Chard – Mild in flavor, you can use the stems in your cooking as well – just make sure to start them before the leaves. This makes a great addition to pasta with broth and a little Parmesan cheese.
  • Turnip Greens – Loaded with calcium and a spicy bite. Try sautéing with bacon and toss with pasta and a bit of Parmesan or grated Romano.
  • Collard Greens – While the obvious is braised with ham hock, I use these for wraps instead of tortillas. Add a slice of avocado, roasted turkey and a raw vegan garlic spread; this makes a great lunch.
  • Bok Choy – A standout favorite for stir frying, bok choy is also great in noodle soups and sliced thin as a slaw.
  • Spinach – This is the one that disguises so many of the others. Spinach is loaded with vitamin C and iron. I like it simply sautéed with garlic and olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

How do you get your family to eat healthier?

Previously: Why you should be eating a balanced breakfast

copyright kimberly rinaldi

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