Can’t get your children to eat their spinach? Try showing them cartoons of Popeye, the fictional character who gulped down spinach to bring out bulging muscles, allowing the previously scrawny sailor man the ability to pulverize bad guys.
While it’s not likely your tot will be transformed into a muscle-bound sailor after eating spinach, a 2010 study revealed most children increased spinach intake after viewing Popeye. That’s a good thing, because spinach is overflowing with enough nutritional value to make other vegetables green with envy. Whether an adult or a child, consuming more leafy green vegetables like spinach, turnips, collards, mustard greens and cabbages can be an easy way to get vitamins and minerals the body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Some of those include calcium, which promotes strong bones, lowers blood pressure and reduces risk of colon cancer; potassium, which assists in maintaining good muscle contraction and healthy electrical activity in the heart; vitamin C, which works to block some damage caused by free radicals; folate, which reduces chances of acquiring some forms of cancer; and vitamin K, which fights debilitating medical conditions such as osteoporosis, blood clotting, cancer and heart disease. It is also prevents artery hardening.
Leafy green vegetables have additional benefits such as improving skin, boosting the immune system, reducing and eliminating acid reflux, reducing brain fog, regulating blood sugar in diabetics, and acting as a colon cleanser. With all those benefits, there are even more reasons to seek out leafy vegetables to enjoy during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They keep the body lean and fit by feeding muscles and providing energy. Leafy greens average approximately 30 calories per cup.
In order to receive the nutritional benefits of turnip greens, collards, mustards, spinach, and cabbages, however, when cooking the leaves, attention must be paid to not overcooking them and obliterating vitamins and minerals. A recommended method to prepare leafy green vegetables is to invest in a steamer, which assists in keeping nutrients in food.
Adding high-fat and salty meats to greens should also be avoided. Instead, try using a smoked turkey leg or chicken broth, which still results in tender, tasty greens. Some people find the bitterness in mustard greens to be unappealing, but squeezing lemon juice or vinegar over them reduces the bitter taste.
Whether you’re a new or experienced cook, turnip greens can be a mouthwatering side dish. Just sautée them in olive oil and cook the leaves for at least five minutes in fresh garlic and diced onions. Collard greens can be prepared in a way that will make them a hit at the dinner table or dinner party simply by using the collard green leaf as a wrapper instead of bread and tortillas, which can be high in calories. A tip to utilize the texture and flavor of spinach more often is to add it to soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes to spice up meals that might otherwise be boring. In addition, raw cabbage can be savored in salads, added to stir fry recipes or shredded to make coleslaw.
Low Calorie Coleslaw
2/3 cup fat free mayo
3 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried dill weed or (1 tbsp fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bag of shredded coleslaw cabbage
1 small/medium onion diced
Mix mayo, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper. Stir in onions and cabbage. Mix thoroughly, place in dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.