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5 Painless Ways to Eat More Green Leafy Vegetables

5 Painless Ways to Eat More Green Leafy Vegetables

    Green leafy vegetables are among the best foods on the planet and the closest to universal miracle foods.

    Want to lose weight? Eat more green leafy vegetables.

    Want to have more energy? Eat more green leafy vegetables.

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    Want to have a healthy baby? Eat more green leafy vegetables.

    Want mental clarity? Eat more green leafy vegetables.

    Want to live to 100? Have good luck and eat more green leafy vegetables.

    Yet despite knowing how great green leafy vegetables are, most of us struggle to eat them with any frequency. Here are a few tips to get ahead of the green leafy vegetable curve.

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    1. Toss them in a smoothie.

    Hardcore “green smoothies” are probably too, well, hardcore for most people. But even vegetable haters can easily toss a handful of spinach or romaine into a frozen mixture of bananas and berries and enjoy the drink without noticing the added health benefit of the hidden greens. Green leafy vegetables can be added to just about any smoothie, but work especially well when masked by chocolate, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. You can gradually add more greens as you adjust to enjoy maximal health benefits.

    2. Replace your potato chips with green chips!

    If you have not yet tried kale chips you’re missing out. It is as simple as tearing up kale or collard greens, tossing them in salt, oil and lemon juice and cooking at 300 degrees for 25 minutes on a baking sheet.

    Experiment with the flavors of honey, soy sauce, vinegar, and red pepper flakes as you like. Just make sure to give kale chips a try!

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    3. Wilt them!

    A plateful of raw green leafy vegetables can be daunting to all but the most devoted of vegetable lovers. But when wilted, green leafy vegetables still provide most of their nutritious goodness in a more manageable form.

    Add raw green leafy vegetables to your hot pasta after it is drained or your steaming rice. Arugula and spinach will quickly wilt and add both color and flavor without overwhelming your plate. Mustard and dandelion greens are also great for added zip, and do not forget your usual herbs and spices to keep things interesting!

    4. Make soup!

    The amount of greens appropriate for soup varies greatly depending upon the type of soup, but just about any soup can easily be made more nutritious by adding green leafy vegetables. Kale and spinach are wonderful in Italian soups, mustard greens add zing to otherwise boring bean broths and soups, and swiss chard can be enjoyed in a vegan borscht.

    5. Re-examine your seasonings.

    You know that nice bunch of parsley? The one right next to the dill and mint? It too is a green leafy vegetable!

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    I do not recommend chowing down on a handful of basil or oregano, but I do recommend adding them to your cooking with abandon. Not only will you enjoy more flavorful food, you will also be benefiting from the added nutrients of often-overlooked green leafy vegetables. Two teaspoons of thyme will give you 60% of the vitamin K your body needs for the day, along with 20% of your iron, all for a mere 7 calories! Two tablespoons of parsley will give you 150% the daily value in vitamin K, along with 15% vitamin C and 10% A!

    Green leafy vegetables may be both green and, well, leafy, but they are not really that difficult to incorporate into one’s diet. So get to it!

    More by this author

    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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