Did you know that colorful, aromatic, and flavorful fruits and vegetables are not just appealing to the eyes, nose, and palate? They are also packed with healthy, cancer-fighting phytonutrients. What are phytonutrients? They are the biologically active constituents of pigments that give fruits and vegetables their color, hue, scent, and flavor. They are also potent antioxidants that strengthen the human immune system.
Their health value lies behind the USDA recommendation that people should eat 2 cups of fresh fruit a day and 2-3 cups of fresh vegetables a day. It’s virtually impossible to eat too many fresh fruits and vegetables. But most people fail to eat enough. In fact, the average American eats less than one cup of each per day.
So what’s a person to do? Start the day with our Healthy Fruit Chewy Click, have a big tossed salad for lunch, and lightly steam some greens as a side dish with dinner. Broccoli may be the most strongly recommended food by nutritionists. But leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and beet greens come in at a close second. Here is my favorite way to cook them:
Ingredients (ideally organic):
1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
3 Cloves Garlic (Crushed)
4 Cups Fresh Greens (Chopped & Washed)
1/4 Cup Filtered Water
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Tamari Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
Optional: 1 Sweet Potato (Cubed)
Put water, onion, and garlic in large covered frying pan. Cook on high heat until not quite soft. Add chopped greens and cook, covered, until barely wilted. Stir. Add vinegar, Tamari soy sauce, and lemon juice. Cover and cook until hot. Serve immediately. The longer you steam the greens the softer they will be, but they will also lose some of their nutritional value. So experiment to see how little you can cook them and still enjoy them. The entire cooking time should be less than 10 minutes. To sweeten the greens, add cubes of baked or boiled sweet potato.
My wife and I consume this recipe, at our evening meal, two or three times per week. That’s because we enjoy them and because the whole recipe • without the sweet potato • only accounts for 277 calories including 1 gram of fat, 17 grams of protein, 48 grams of carbohydrate, and 8 grams of fiber. Of course, those figures go up or down a little depending upon the green. But they stay small as long as you don’t add any oil to the mix. And they loom large when it comes to short-term and long-term health benefits. The sweet potato adds about 120 calories, including 28 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of protein.
If we fail to finish the whole pan of greens, they keep well in the refrigerator and can be eaten cold or warm over the next few days. If you want to turn the dish into a main course, mix in some cooked protein such as cubes of free-range, organic chicken, tofu, or boiled shrimp.
Coaching Inquiries: How many fresh fruits and vegetables do you eat per day? Do you avoid cooking them with oil or do you count French Fries as a vegetable? How colorful and aromatic are the fruits and vegetables that you like to eat? How could you start including greens as a regular staple in your diet?
If you have a recipe you want to share, please use our online Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
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