Move Over Kale! 5 Good-For-You Greens To Buy Instead
As much as I love kale, it gets boring when it’s in everything — including cake (seriously, Google it). Even though kale is bursting with nutritional value, sticking to one staple green means you're missing out on essential nutrients found in other greens.
Next time you feel like you’re in a kale slump, try one of these healthy green veggies instead.
Watercress made waves last summer when a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated it the most nutrient-dense vegetable on the planet.
It’s true, in just one cup you’ll get a quarter of the vitamin A and vitamin C you need daily, plus all your vitamin K. Watercress also offers a small amount of calcium and manganese to support healthy teeth and bones.
How to try it: Watercress has natural peppery flavor that’s perfect for hearty salads. Add a handful to your favorite broth-based soup right before serving, or blend it into your favorite pureed soup.
2. Broccoli leaves
Broccoli leaves are gaining popularity as the next kale, and I’m psyched that another cruciferous green is getting the attention it deserves.
A 1-cup serving provides more than 100% of your daily vitamin A and roughly half your daily vitamin C, plus smaller amounts of manganese, calcium and potassium. Because the leaves are typically thrown out during harvesting, eating them can cut down on food waste, making this a truly “green” superfood.
How to try it: Use broccoli leaves the same way you’d use kale — in smoothies, salads, soups, you name it! Because they’re sturdy, larger broccoli leaves can also be used in place of tortillas to make low-carb wraps.
Also called dock, sorrel looks like a cross between spinach and dandelion greens, but has a sharp, acidic taste that sets it apart from both.
It’s packed with vitamins, with each cup providing all the vitamins A and C you need daily, plus metabolism-boosting B vitamins like riboflavin and vitamin B6. Sorrel is also an excellent source of magnesium, offering 36% of the recommended daily intake, which makes it ideal to keep your bones healthy and strong.
How to try it: Sorrel's natural sour taste add lots of flavor to sauces. Blend it into homemade dressings, blend it with olive oil, Parmesan and walnuts for homemade pesto or just add it to your favorite spinach salad for a little added zip.
They’re not exactly the typical leafy green, but nopales (cactus leaves or pads) offer ample nutritional value.
They’re seriously rich in calcium, offering around 14 percent of the recommended daily intake per serving, and also packed with magnesium, manganese and vitamin C. Nopales also offers 2 grams of filling fiber per serving.
How to try it: Nopales are traditionally used in Mexican cuisine. Carefully cut off the spines, slice into strips and boil or grill until tender. Use them in tacos and fajitas along with your favorite veggies.
5. Turnip cabbage
You’ve probably passed kohlrabi in the grocery store a thousand times, but it’s still one of the most ignored greens.
Kohlrabi bulbs are especially packed with potassium and vitamin C. 1 cup has 14% of your daily potassium and 140% of your vitamin C needs, which means it boosts heart health, strengthens blood vessels and replenishes much-needed electrolytes. And don’t toss out kohlrabi greens, they’re loaded with nourishing vitamin K.
How to try it: Use a mandolin or food processor to slice kohlrabi bulbs, then pair with grapefruit, chopped kohlrabi greens and vinaigrette for an easy and healthy salad. Or mash boiled kohlrabi and rutabaga with roasted garlic for a lower-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.