Green is Your Color

The Harvest Salad is a wonderful fall salad. Sweet, buttery, crunchy and colorful.
Green is the primary color in the Harvest Salad is a wonderful fall salad. Sweet, buttery, crunchy and colorful.

No matter what color your favorite football team wears, green is your color nutrition-wise. “Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to improve your health,” says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, author of The Veggie Queen.

I remember my mother serving a peach half or some cottage cheese on top of a lettuce leaf. Since she never made us eat that lettuce, I assumed it was just there for decoration, and I left it on my plate. It never really occurred to me to eat it. I suspect that happened often, back in the day. But it might still be happening.

Lettuce served on the side of a sandwich may or may not make it into the sandwich. Lettuce can be a lovely wrap itself, and it’s meant to be eaten, but is often discarded. Of course, the lettuce that comes to mind, is iceberg lettuce. It is very pale and has far fewer nutrients than greener leafy greens, but it is the most popular lettuce in the United States.

Jill Nussinow calls it a “starter green,” that might lead us to move ahead into healthier greens. Greens such as kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, green or red leaf lettuce, or Swiss chard are amazingly healthy. They all have plenty of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C along with other minerals that help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, and are believed to lower the risk of many cancers.

They are all available right now in farmers’ markets, and many are available in groceries year round. All too often, however, people look at the lovely green leaves and say, “But what do I do with them?!” Remember, you can always make a Mason Jar Salad or consider these ideas.

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