Between stress-baking banana bread and stocking our pantries with nonperishables like tomato paste and beans, it’s pretty easy to overlook greens amidst a global pandemic.
Enjoying your favorite comfort foods is completely okay—maybe even necessary—right now. However, to get the good-for-you nutrients you need, maintain regular bathroom habits, and keep your energy high, eating greens (and other veggies) is more important than ever.
“Green veggies tend to be some of the most nutritious foods on the planet,” says Emmie Satrazemis, R.D., C.S.S.D., nutrition director for Trifecta. “They are very low in calories and high in important nutrients like B vitamins, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants like vitamins A, E, and C.”
Greens (think kale, spinach, arugula, chard, and more) are also packed with vitamin K, adds dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller, R.D., L.D.N., advisor for Fitter Living. This often-overlooked nutrient supports blood clotting and bone health.
Still, you can only eat so many salads. So what to do with all of that frozen spinach? Here, nutritionists share their go-to tips for getting more greens into your diet during quarantine living.
1. Add Greens To Homemade Sauces And Dips
In addition to stirring greens like spinach into tomato sauce, you can also blend them into pesto and hummus, suggests Satrazemis. (Raise your hand if you currently have four cans of chickpeas in the pantry.)
For just seven calories, one cup of spinach provides half your daily value of vitamin A, Satrazemis says. If you can’t find frozen spinach, adding fresh spinach to sauces and dips is a great way to use it up right before it wilts.
2. Fold Greens Into Your Eggs
Eggs are more of an any-meal staple than ever—and they’re the perfect opportunity to get your greens in.
Read More: 9 High-Protein Breakfasts That Aren’t Eggs
“Add a half-a-cup of spinach to omelets or scrambled eggs,” suggests dietitian Hayley Cimring, R.D. For extra credit (and texture), add about a quarter-cup of chopped green peppers, which are high in vitamin C.
3. Make Popsicles
“Blend together spinach or kale, yogurt, and some berries, and pour the liquid into popsicle molds to freeze for later,” suggests dietitian Sarah Schlichter, M.P.H., R.D.N.
“Not only will you get protein and calcium from the yogurt, but the greens offer iron, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants,” she adds. Plus, throw a little protein powder into the mix and they’ll be extra satiating.
4. Bake Kale Chips
Snagged a giant bag of kale but don’t know how to use it all? When life hands you loads of kale, make kale chips.
Don’t worry, it requires very little culinary talent. “Drizzle your kale with some olive oil and your favorite seasoning, toss it in the oven, and enjoy,” shares Lyndsay Hall, R.D., dietitian at JM Nutrition. (Set the oven to 300 degrees and bake your kale until crispy—typically about 20 to 30 minutes—stirring halfway through.)
5. Add At Least Two Types Of Greens To Smoothies
You may already throw some fresh or frozen spinach into your smoothies, and now’s a great time to step up your game.
Read More: How To Make The Best Smoothie For Your Goals
Challenge yourself to add at least two or three greens—whether fresh or frozen—into your smoothies,” suggests Kostro Miller. (Kale and zucchini make good options.) Don’t have multiple types of greens on-hand? A greens powder, like Amazing Grass Green Superfood, is an easy way to get more of the good stuff into smoothies.
Diggin’ What’s Good? For more essential health facts, tips, and inspiration, join our Facebook community, Eating Healthy, today!