Welcome to the week 7 challenge – Go Green and Get Lean! This is a challenge that really focuses on nutrition and consuming those micro nutrients to help build muscle, lose weight, and satisfy your hunger.
Too many people neglect their greens. Even people who think they eat plenty of greens are not likely eating as much as they should be, on a consistent basis.
Dark, leafy greens, calorie for calorie, are by far the most concentrated source of nutrition than any other food.
This weeks challenge addresses this issue directly. My hope is that by eating micro nutrient rich foods consistently through this weeks challenge, you gain the knowledge and understanding of eating plenty of greens and even develop the habit of including this food group into your meals, every day!
I do understand, though, that not everyone enjoys a salad and some particular green vegetables may even sound repulsive to some.
That’s why I’ve come up with a pretty detailed list below that includes various options, ranging in taste (but not so much in nutrition), to help make your options more variable, exciting, and enjoyable. This, in turn, will hopefully make you successful with completing this week’s challenge. 🙂
To start, here are some great fun facts about Spinach, one of the listed options below, and its nutritional value. Most of the options have similar nutritional value, but will vary in overall grams to value ratio. This is to give you an idea of the absolute extreme nutritional value in eating green vegetables and completing this weeks challenge.
- Very low in calories and fats and high in fiber and protein.
- 100g of raw spinach contains around 25% of your daily recommended intake of iron (the most of any leafy green), which is required for red blood cell production and is partly responsible for creating oxidation-reduction enzymes (cytochrome-oxidases) during the cellular metabolism.
- 100g of raw spinach also contains 42% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K, which plays a vital role in strengthening bones by promoting bone building.
- Vitamin K, found in spinach, also helps prevent neuronal damage in the brain – making it a component of helping reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Raw leaves contain several anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, beta-carotine, and zea-xanthin. These act together and help protect against oxygen-derived free radicals.
- These and other aspects of this super-food play a healing role in aging, disease fighting1 processes, and weight loss.
Green Vegetable Options:
- Romaine, Mesculin (Spring Mix), or Iceberg Lettuce
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Snow Peas
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Green Cabbage
- Bok Choi
Every one of the above options are packed with vitamins and are very nutrient rich. Be sure to include these in your daily meals, and don’t skimp out! Eat plenty of these things. They are practically carbohydrate free, because of how much fiber they have in them. This makes most green vegetable carbs very slow digesting, and has little to no impact on blood glucose levels.
If you’re concerned about the flavor of these vegetables, here are some healthy ways to season and/or cook them:
- Healthy fats such as olive oil.
- Dressings that include healthy fats, but steer away from sugar, sodium, and artificial ingredients.
- Season veggies with:
- black pepper, garlic, rosemary, basil, cilantro, lemon, sodium-free seasoning such as Mrs. Dash, or even light salt sprinkle.
- Try sauteing and steaming. You can also boil, but will lose some nutrients this way.
- The best way to eat any vegetable is in its raw form.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the Week 7 Challenge! If you have any special recipes you’d like to share that include these dark, leafy veggies, I’d be willing to feature them in my email newsletter. Keep up to speed with all things fitness and nutrition and spend some time with like-minded people over on the Christina’s Fitness Facebook Page. Click Here and click the “Like” button!