I hated eating vegetables when I was a kid. I was adamant and no matter what my mom said or did I would not even try them. I was so picky and I know I gave her a hard time- sorry mom! She only wanted me to be healthy and I get that now. Back then though I thought she was just mean for trying to make me eat my peas and carrots. Luckily, I’ve outgrown that phase and now love eating vegetables. I even followed a vegetarian diet for over five years!
Now that I’m a mom I know exactly what my mom must have went through with me. I worry about my kids all the time and hope that they are getting all the nutrients they need. Bridget, my youngest, isn’t a picky either and is willing to try new foods. My oldest daughter, Olivia, has put up a fight almost from the day she was born. She’s improved as she has gotten older, but I remember a time when she was around 4 or 5 that I was really worried about her not eating properly. I was at my wit’s end and even took her the doctor to see if there was anything wrong with her. There wasn’t and he said she will eat when she is hungry and will grow out of it. Well, at least we know she takes after me and I turned ok!
With that said, I still make an effort to incorporate healthy foods into our meals. I serve a salad with almost every meal and it’s something I never get bored of eating because there’s so much you can do with leafy greens. I always make sure to properly wash the leafy greens before we eat them. This step is very important so no one gets sick.
Here’s a checklist to follow when you are preparing leafy greens for your family:
- Check to make sure the leafy greens are fresh and are refrigerated at the store.
- Chill the greens within two hours of purchasing.
- Clean your hands and all surfaces before handling the greens. Never use detergents to wash the greens. Wash leafy greens under cool running tap water. Package leafy greens labelled “ready-to-eat” “washed” or “triple washed” need not be washed.
- Separate leafy greens from raw meat, poultry, or seafood in your refrigerator and don’t use the same cutting board. Cook or throw away leafy greens that come into their contact.
- Throw Away leafy green that have been sitting in your fridge for a long time
These are worthwhile points that I was following already, but they serve as a reminder to always put your family’s safety first.
So why is it important to eat leafy greens? The answer is simple. Vitamin K.
Leafy Greens are full of Vitamin K which is required for proper bone formation, blood clotting and helping your body transport calcium. It’s recommended that people eat at least one cup of them a day.
My two favourite types of leafy greens are Kale and Butter Lettuce. Kale actually comes from the same family as cabbage and brussel sprouts and has been around over 2000 years. Funny thing though is that I never really heard of it until a few years ago. Kale Chips (yum!) are an extremely popular healthy snack option right now. Kale is full of antioxidants and provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C and K. It also contains lutein, an organic pigment that keeps your eyes healthy.
Butter Lettuce is my lettuce of choice for salad. It’s got a smooth and slightly sweet flavour. I’m on a low carb diet so I also use it instead of bread for a sandwich. Butter lettuce is an excellent source of Vitamin K and A and also contains some calcium. It’s seriously good so pick up some on your next trip to the grocery store.
Here’s two recipes with both kale and butter lettuce you can try at home thanks to the LGMA (California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement).
Butter Lettuce Bundles with Thai Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salad
This versatile recipe can be served as a deconstructed salad in fun individual lettuce bundles, or even as fresh, healthy lettuce wraps your guests can build themselvesat a buffet-style party. The creamy taste of butter lettuce is a perfect complement to the Thai vinaigrette. More great recipes can be found at www.safeleafygreens.com.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes 6 servings
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 large mango peeled and cut into thin strips
- ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
- 1½ cups grape tomato halves
- 3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into wedges
- 6 butter lettuce leaves
- Combine cayenne pepper, garlic, lemongrass paste, sugar, sunflower oil, fish sauce and lime juice in a serving bowl.
- In a serving bowl, toss together mango, onion, tomatoes and herbs. Gently, mix in avocado. Add in vinaigrette and toss gently to distribute. Spread butter leaves over serving platter and top with mango salad. Serve salad immediately.
Baked Kale Chips Spiked with Chili Parmesan Garlic Salt
Kale is a super healthy leafy green vegetable. Baking kale into a crunchy, chip-style snack will have you munching through bunch after bunch, guaranteed! Kale bunches vary in size and produce anywhere from 12 to 16 cups (3 to 4 L) of bite-sized kale pieces. This recipe is for 12 cups (3 L) of uncooked kale (serving size reduces when cooked). More great recipes can be found at www.safeleafygreens.com.
Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 to 12 minutes
Makes 4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 L)
- 1 medium bunch kale, washed and dried
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
- ½ tsp crushed chili flakes
- 2 to 3tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Tear off washed bite-sized kale leaves from hard stems and place in large plastic bag.
- Whisk together garlic, chili flakes and oil. Drizzle oil mixture over kale, hold bag closed and shake to coat kale leaves as evenly as possible. Do this in two batches if needed.
- Lightly spray a sheet pan with oil. Spread each kale leaf out flat on pan. Crowd leaves but do not overlap.
- Bake in oven for 8 to 12 minutes. Kale is done when leaves are dark green and crisp. Do not let kale turnbrown. Transfer kale to a rack to cool and repeat with remaining kale.
- Serve kale in a large bowl. If there are leftovers, store in a sealed container and keep at room temperature for up to a week.
You can read the recipe reviews over at UrbanMoms. Both sound so quick and easy that I will be making them for our family to enjoy.
Leafy Greens Contest
UrbanMoms is hosting the Leafy Greens Contest! You can win a gift basket valued at over $275 that includes Kitchen Stuff Plus salad spinner & mandolin, a wooden salad bowl with serving spoons, an ergonomic hand-held chopper, a salad dressing shaker, and 2 cutting boards!
It’s open to Canada only (excluding Quebec) and ends 5/28. Visit UrbanMoms to enter the contest.