February is a cold month. Generally, we eat a little more than usual and crave warm rich dishes to comfort us. Also, many of us and our children at their schools are struggling with colds, fevers and viruses that keep circulating around us. Keeping healthy and strong during these winter months are so important. Keeping a healthy diet and fueling your bodies with good and real food is the perfect potion! (And of course washing our hands very often!)
Fresh winter greens are the highlighted vegetable this month. They are perfectly ripe and in season here in Athens. They taste sweeter in the winter months making it the ideal centre of our nutrition.
Green leafy vegetables like chard, kale, beet leaves and spinach are so powerful. By eating them daily, we will gain so many benefits. We can fit them in any dish and make them the highlight of the day! They are also so affordable and low in calories.
Winter greens are a good source of minerals such as iron, folates, antioxidants, and fibre.
One cup (35 grams) has 7 calories, and contains nearly half of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A and fulfils the daily recommended intake of vitamin K.
It is low in calories and high in nutrients. Chard is packed with beneficial plant pigments called betalains, which is a good source of Vitamin C, magnesium and manganese. Betalains reduce inflammation in the body and decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, one of the main causes of heart disease.
One ounce (28 grams) has the daily recommended intake of vitamin K and contains over half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. It is loaded with vitamin A, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.
An excellent source of flavonoids, including apigenin and luteolin. These are extremely helpful in preventing memory loss and age-related changes in the brain and promotes brain health.
One cup (156 grams) of cooked brussel sprouts contains 137% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin K, critical for bone and heart health and is important for brain function
They are high in fibre and a great source of vitamins A, B, C and the minerals manganese and potassium. Brussels sprouts are packed with nutrients and are especially rich in vitamin K. They are high in alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that may benefit people with diabetes. Fibre slows down the digestive process in the body, resulting in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. This means that there are fewer spikes in blood sugar after consuming a fibre-rich meal.
One cup (67 grams) of kale contains the daily recommended intake for vitamins A, C and K. It is also rich in B vitamins, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium.
This superfood is loaded with flavonoid antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
It helps manage blood pressure, boosts digestion and protects us against cancer and type 2 diabetes.
One cup of raw spinach contains only 7 calories, vitamin K, fibre, phosphorus, and thiamine.
A great source of iron, calcium and magnesium. Most of the calories in spinach come from protein and carbohydrates. Important for skin, hair and bone health.
Make sure to combine spinach with vitamin-C-rich foods like peppers and oranges and lemon to improve iron absorption.
How to enjoy
Eaten raw, baked or sautéed, these vegetables are easy to prepare and can be added to each meal from breakfast, snacks to lunches and dinner.
For the leafy greens, wash well and remove the spine with a knife which may be hard to chew. You may add to a veggie broth for all the flavour and nutritional benefits. Chop the leaves and use for all your meals.
All these vegetables can be added to soups, omelettes, stir fries, pasta dishes, smoothies and even mashed with potatoes. The possibilities are endless. Do not overcook them not to remove the nutritional goodness they offer. I use spinach and kale as a base in all my salads. This is a staple in my refrigerator!
For the brussel sprouts, trim the base, wash well and remove the outer leaves, and bake in the oven with a little olive oil and fresh pepper. You may even cut in half for faster roasting.
Easy Winter Greens Pie
Big bunch of spinach (big bag at the fruit market filled)
1 large leek
Bunch of dill
3-4 green onions
Big bunch of chard (like the spinach)
Ready bought pastry dough. 2 sheets
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees
- Wash and chop all winter greens.
- Sauté them in for about 10 minutes with one tablespoons olive oil.
- Assemble the pie by rolling out one sheet of dough in a deep dish spreading it through the bottom.
- Add the winter green mixture evenly. Add fresh pepper and oregano for taste and place the top part of the dough. Make sure not to fold it many times and use one layer.
- Score the top of the pita in various locations. Here you can be creative as to look nice when finished baking.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top pastry and below is golden brown and cooked through. Enjoy!
Visit Voula at Margarita Fruit and Vegetable Store and she will make sure you have the freshest and best fruits and vegetables! She handpicked and suggested all the amazing vegetables I used in my pie!
Πριγκιπος Πετρου 34, Voúla Telephone: 210 899 6649
Katy Taveira, MSc