Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard. Life is hard.
And since the universe is a sadist that enjoys watching us suffer, eating vegetables is also hard. Apparently, the so-called “experts” say that we’re supposed to eat at least three servings of veggies every day-- the greener, the leafier, the better.
That’s cute. Real cute.
Are these experts aware that most of us fancy grown-ups are barely getting one fruit or veggie in our diet in a day? Sometimes we manage to eat one of each, if we’re feeling like an overachiever. The pressures of modern life causes our time and energy to be consumed in other way more important things, like planning the most Pinterest-worthy baby nursery or getting in our daily kegels. (Or do squats if kegels aren’t your thing. Taking care of your pelvic floor health is the hottest new trend.)
So, what do we do when our doctor is giving us the “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” face when they find out about our sub-par diet? What if we’re not “salad people” and we think that broccoli smells like farts? (It seriously does.) There’s hope, I promise. Let me share some things that I know about leafy greens to help transform you into a fancy grown-up that eats kale sometimes without having to put in much effort.
- Iceberg lettuce doesn't count.
I’m sorry, guys. I’m really, really sorry. Iceberg lettuce has practically no nutrients. It’s basically just fiber and water. Plus, it’s only really palatable when it’s raw. Don’t martyr your lunch for a bland salad with iceberg lettuce. If you really need some crispy greens in your life, swap iceberg for romaine lettuce. It still has the soft crunch, but it is way more nutrient dense. With prenatal nutrition, the name of the game is quantity and quality.
- Spinach is basically magic.
Think of your favorite dinner recipes to make at home. Chances are, you can wilt spinach into it. What if I told you that you could hide an entire 9 oz bag of raw spinach into your favorite lasagna, and no one would be able to taste it? When are you cooking the tomato sauce, throw the spinach or kale in the pan with the tomatoes and watch it wilt down to almost nothing. It’s like eating a salad that tastes like lasagna!
- Smoothies hide everything.
Even the most veggie-averse of us would likely agree that fruit smoothies are palatable. The next time you make a fruit smoothie, throw in a generous handful of spinach or kale. Don’t look at me like that, just do it. It’s a win-win situation-- you get to enjoy a yummy, fruity treat while still patting yourself on the back for tricking yourself into eating something green. (Take note: this trick also works well on toddlers!)
- Put it in a sandwich.
Sandwiches are basically an American pastime. We eat sandwiches like it’s nobody’s business. The next time you’re in line at Subway or making a melty grilled cheese at home, try adding spinach to your sandwich. The spinach is hard to notice when it’s stuck between toasty bread and cheese and tomatoes and pickles and sliced turkey and mayo and all those other things that make you go “mmm…”
- It can reduce your risk of perineal tearing.
The nutrients in leafy greens, mostly Calcium and Vitamin A, can help improve your skin elasticity and reduce your risk of stretch marks and perineal tearing. So, um...yeah. If that doesn’t make you want to eat a big bag of raw spinach right now, then I don’t know what else to tell you.
I get it. Green things are yucky and so much less tempting than a savory plate of french fries most of the time. But I believe in you! You are a fancy grown-up, and you can do hard things. And sometimes those hard things include adding a bag of raw spinach to your weekly grocery list.