Incorporating food of all colors is the healthiest way to eat, and green foods are a very important part of that. If there is one type of vegetable that most children run away from, it is the green vegetable category. Making them consume these nutrient-packed superfoods is almost ‘mission impossible’ for most parents. We had even suggested a smoothie recipe in one of our previous posts to make your picky kid consume this superfood in delicious smoothie form.
There are so many forms in which one can consume them. Let us look into the kingdom of green vegetables.
Facts About Green Vegetables:
- Green vegetables contain a chemical compound called chlorophyll, which gives them their distinctive green color.
- Most green vegetables are edible plant leaves, whereas some are also edible shoots and petioles.
- These veggies also go by the names leaf vegetables, leafy greens, vegetable greens, or just greens.
- A few leafy greens that can be consumed raw are called salad greens.
- The ones that must be boiled to be consumed are known as boiled greens.
- There are also microgreens, which are the immature seedling leaves of the mature versions like radishes, broccoli, etc.
- Vitamin K is the most prominent nutrient in this category of vegetables.
- The reason is that phylloquinone, the commonest form of vitamin K, is a main part of the photosynthesis process.
- Greens have high fiber content and low-calorie content. Due to this, they help well with weight loss and management.
- They are loaded with antioxidants.
- Green vegetables can be used in soups, stews, salads, stir-fries, wraps, sandwiches, casseroles, curries, smoothies, and juices.
- To store them for a long time in your refrigerator, wash and dry them before storing them. Also, if there are roots attached, remove that part and keep only the edible shoot or leaf part.
Kinds of green vegetables:
We all know the immense amount of nutrients in greens. Let us look into a few of them in detail:
Spinach is the most popular green leafy vegetable, all thanks to ‘The Popeye Show’ of our childhood. The botanical name for spinach is Spinacia oleracea. Spinach plants are vines that grow over a wall or vertical surfaces. Baby spinach is also consumed, as the leaves are more tender and have a better taste.
Indian spinach is, however, different from true spinach, and it belongs to a different plant species called Basellaceae. Its botanical name is Basella alba. Indian spinach has many names in India: Palak, Paala Koora, Pasalai keerai, Palak soppu, Palong Shak, Palak/Saag, Cheera, and Palanga Saga. Used after being boiled, steamed, or in pureed form. Recently, it has been an ingredient in green smoothies as well.
Main Nutrients: Folate, Iron, Calcium, and Vitamins A and C.
Helps with: Managing diabetes, fighting cancer and asthma, lowering blood pressure, and promoting healthy hair and skin.
The leaves of the fenugreek herb plant are edible and are one of the most popular greens in India. The fenugreek seeds used in our households almost daily are from the same herb as the leaves. The leaves too have a slight bitter-nutty taste reminiscent of the fenugreek seeds.
Fenugreek leaves go by the names ‘Methi’ in Hindi, ‘Methi Sag’ in Marathi, ‘Vendeya keerai’ in Tamil, ‘Menthya’ in Telugu, and ‘Menthiya soppu’ in Kannada. These greens are used in sambars and in curries like aloo methi, malai methi paneer, and in flavored rice and pulavs. They can be infused in the Indian bread dough to make methi poori, methi paratta, etc. Fenugreek microgreens are also consumed; they are less bitter in taste. Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) are used as garnish in a variety of dishes.
Main Nutrients: Iron, Potassium, and Vitamins A, B, and C.
Helps with: Controls cholesterol, is diabetes-friendly, aids in a healthy female reproductive system, and helps with weight management.
A cruciferous leafy vegetable that grows on the soil. It is known to have originated in Europe. It was brought to India by the Portuguese. Cabbages are not just green; they can also be red, purple, or white (pale green) in color. Cabbage heads are made of various leaves densely layered on top of each other, and these leaves are the parts that are edible.
Cabbages actually have different variants based on the cultivars:
- Spring greens (Brassica oleracea)
- White/Dutch which have pale green leaves.
Main Nutrients: Vitamins C and K, Fiber.
Helps with: Prevents cancer, provides protection against radiation, and lowers the risk of heart ailments.
I hope you have learned more about the various benefits of greens and a few types of them. We will share more about them. Stay tuned. Happy parenting.