By now, we all know that leafy greens are one of the best food groups for overall health. Leafy greens are especially important for women and men during the pre conception time period, as they are high in folate, which is critical in preventing birth defects. In addition to folate, leafy greens also contain other critical nutrients, such as calcium and iron, among others.
Leafy greens include:
- Collard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Bok Choy
Ideally we would all be eating a few servings of greens a day, but they can be hard to get in. When planning to conceive, set a goal of 2- 3 servings each day. Below are some ways to reach this goal.
Plan for it -
Each grocery list/or trip and weekly meal plan should include 3- 4 varieties of greens
Eat 1 salad each day, at the same time -
This could be a big, meal sized salad at lunch or dinner, or side salad, but get into the habit of having enjoying a salad each day at a regular time. Soon you will be looking forward to your daily dose of greens.
Prep them -
When appropriate, wash the greens, so that they are ready to go at a moment's notice. Heartier greens can even be cut up. Now all you have to do is look for an opportunity to add them in to whatever you are making.
Blend or juice or process them -
A daily juice or smoothie is a great way to pack in nutrients. Depending on the size, it can replace a meal, supplement a meal, or make a portable snack. We also enjoy making our greens into dips, spreads, and sauces. This swiss chard pesto is a favorite.
Add them to the skillet -
If you are sautéing (almost anything) you can usually add a green at the end with success. Shrimp? Add thinly chopped spinach. Veggies for an omelet or frittata? Chopped kale or chard (with the large stalks removed). Stir-fying? Throw in some bok choy!