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Alternatives to Leafy Greens

Rich in fiber, vitamins and natural plant compounds called phytonutrients, greens are one of the most impactful foods you can add to your daily diet to promote better health.

According to Heinen’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Todd Pesek:

The multitude of phytonutrients in greens fuel our bodies and their major detoxification systems. Greens basically act as a nutritive anti-inflammatory cleanser to help the body naturally rid itself of harmful toxins. In addition, chlorophyll—the green pigment in greens—adds to their anti-inflammatory power.

From your Fx 100 list, there are many greens to choose from, including:

  • Arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Collard
  • Dandelion
  • Kale
  • Mesclun
  • Microgreens
  • Mustard
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

Another option available to you is greens in powdered form. Talk about convenience!

What are greens powders?

Found in Heinen’s Wellness department, greens powders are made up of a combination of leafy greens, seaweed (spirulina, chlorella, dulse, kelp), veggies, grasses (barley grass, wheatgrass, oat grass, alfalfa grass), antioxidant-rich fruits (blueberries, raspberries, acai berries, goji berries), probiotics, plant-based digestive enzymes, herbs, mushroom extracts and natural sugar alternatives like stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract.

These ingredients are dried and then ground into a powder for ease in mixing and dissolving into your favorite recipes or smoothies.

If you’re constantly on-the-go, greens powders can help you squeeze more veggies and fruits into your diet—something we should all aim to do! At a little over $1.00 per serving, greens powders can fit into most budgets! 

Ideas for incorporating greens powders

From my experience, the best method for incorporating greens powders into your diet is blending them into smoothies. Because these powders tend to taste a bit “grassy”, mixing it with a little fruit can improve the flavor while adding even more nutrition. Be sure to check out this week’s featured Super Energizing Smoothie recipe. This tasty concoction makes for a quick breakfast and gives you just the right amount of energy to get through those super busy mornings!

If you’d like to whip up your own smoothie creation, simply add these ingredients to your blender, blend, and enjoy!

  • Liquid: 8-12 ounces of unsweetened plant-based milk, such as Elmhurst nut milk
  • Greens: 1-2 small handfuls of greens, such as spinach or kale, or 1 scoop of greens powder
  • Rainbow fruits and veggies: A serving or two of vegetables, such as half of a small peeled and seeded avocado, or a ½ cup of raw carrots. Also add up to 1 cup of your favorite fresh or frozen fruit, like berries, bananas, peaches or cherries.
  • Omega-3 fats: A serving or two of good-for-you fats, such as 1 tablespoon of almond, walnut or cashew butter, or 1 tablespoon of chia, flax or hemp seeds.
  • Functional foods: A serving or two of powerful functional foods like fresh turmeric or ginger, cinnamon, raw cacao or mushroom powder.

Food for thought… Healthy habits are like magnets—they attract more healthy habits! Test this out by incorporating a daily smoothie as one of your meals. Over a short period of time, you will be surprised at the other little positive habits that develop.

By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. She graduated cum laude from the University of Akron, earning a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and has over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking. As a published author of three books and registered dietitian for Heinen’s Grocery Store, Melanie offers programs, services, and tools to help Heinen’s customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in…without giving up their favorite foods.

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