A famous frog once sang, “It’s not easy being green,” but it’s not so difficult when it comes to food.
Spinach, arugula, lettuce, the ever-polarizing kale, broccoli; leafy greens fill 90% of produce departments in this country, yet many people avoid them like the plague. The largest group that avoids them? Millennials.
College students and twenty-somethings cry poverty and/or lack of skills in the kitchen, but fear not! I’m here save you from that nightly ramen and greasy take out.
Versatility: Greens like spinach and kale can be used in everything. From smoothies to salads, sauces to side dishes; the multitude of culinary applications allows you to get your bang for your buck.
Fresh vs. Frozen: How you’re using the green will decide whether fresh or frozen produce is better. For smoothies, salads, and sautés stick to fresh. If you’re on a tight budget, frozen broccoli and spinach are just as nutritious and can easily be cooked to taste just as good as the fresh stuff. But try to (unless your budget is super tight) avoid anything canned. If canned is your only option, drain and thoroughly rinse the vegetables, as a lot of canned vegetables are high in sodium.
Keeping costs down: As I’ve previously stated, fresh is best, but realistically it isn’t always the most cost effective option. Follow the lead of extreme couponers and look at the store’s weekly sale ads (most have them online and the option to receive an email every week) for deals in the produce section. Look at whether the green is in season or not; costs will be drastically lower when the vegetable is plentiful.
Overall, these vegetables are much cheaper than processed meals and snacks; I’ve noticed when I avoid the aisles in the center of the store (aka the snack hole) the total on my receipt is at least $10 cheaper.
Some food for thought: Next time you walk into the grocery store, don’t make a beeline to the aisle with the Easy Mac and SpaghettiOs, try taking a look in the produce section… you’ll see it’s not so hard eating green.