Delicious ways to include green leafy vegetables in your diet this winter
- If sabzis and curries don't work for you, try these delicious ways to include green leafy vegetables like fenugreek, spinach and mustard greens in your diet.
Winter is the best time to strengthen your immunity as during this time green leafy vegetables are abundant from spinach (palak), amarnath (chaulai), fenugreek (methi), chenopodium album (bathua) to moringa (sahjan). As the new heavily mutated Covid variant of concern Omicron triggers panic among people, it is best to boost your immunity naturally by eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Green vegetables are a powerhouse of nutrients, loaded with soluble and insoluble fibre, vitamins and minerals like iron, folic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium. They not only boost your immunity against seasonal infections, but also provide you protection from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and constipation.
Why Sarson Ka Saag is a must-have during winter season
Mustard greens or Sarson is one of the winter vegetables that must be consumed for the presence of plant compounds called glucosinolates, one of the most researched ingredients for its anticancer activity and DNA protection, says Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach - Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine and Founder of YouCare - All about YOU by Luke Coutinho.
"This pungent cruciferous wintergreen is primarily available in the winter season and is a star ingredient in Sarson ka saag, a popular vegetarian winter delicacy from northern India," he says.
Another vegetable that the lifestyle coach recommends is Spinach. Palak or spinach, the most common kind of green leafy vegetable, is a rich source of vitamin K, C, and D, dietary fibre, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and plenty of antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. One of the antioxidants in spinach, called lutein, has also been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a degenerative condition that can blur vision," says Coutinho.
It is also important for children to benefit from the nutritional content of green vegetables, but many of them are picky eaters and it is imperative to make the greens interesting for them to eat. With schools reopening parents can get creative and rustle out some innovative tiffin dishes for their kids using greens. If your kid isn't a fan of sabzis and curries, you can include green vegetables in their diet in following ways suggested by Coutinho.
* Parathas and theplas: While some children complain of the bitter taste of methi or fenugreek and do not like to have palak-paneer, adding these veggies to the dough and making paratha, puri or theplas out of it will make them taste good.
* Patties and tikkis: You can also sneak the greens in potato or sweet potato fillings in patties or tikkis.
* Sun dry and powder them: This powder can be used in doughs, raitas, dals, smoothies. You can also add them to rice preparations like pulaos and biryanis.
* Dumplings: Try filling them in dumplings and chances are your kid will keep asking for more.
* Idli or dosa: It can also be mixed in idli or dosa batter. Another way is to add it to dough and bake crackers out of it.
Soups and brothes: Winters are also about soups and broths. The greens would make a good addition to the soups.
While these green vegetables are full of nutrients it is important to follow good hygiene practices while cooking them as the leaves can carry the risk of stomach infection if not washed well.
"Also, if it does not suit you, do not eat them. If you have a kidney condition or an extremely weak gut, be mindful of its consumption. And most importantly, just because it is healthy, do not overdo it," suggests Coutinho.