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Overview of Greens

Green salad leaves_small

Have you ever stopped for a moment in the vegetable department to take a look at the various types of lettuce? Luckily, we now have access to a broad variety that goes beyond the traditional romaine, iceberg, Boston, and leaf lettuce.

It is always preferable to choose bright green lettuce that is crispy and free of brown spots. Lettuce is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids and flavonoids, which act as a small defense mechanism against some chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. You will only benefit from adding it to your menu!

Here are four varieties to discover:

Watercress

Flavour: peppery.

How to use it in food: use it in sandwiches, add it to soups and potage soups, chop it and mix it in mashed potatoes, stir-fry it in Asian dishes, turn it into a sauce with your choice of oil and fine herbs, prepare a pesto, or incorporate it into smoothies.

Characteristics: Contains a significant quantity of bioavailable calcium, i.e., that is easily absorbed and used by the body.

Lamb’s lettuce

Flavour: very mild and subtle.

How to use it in food: accompany it with tasty cheese, steam it and serve over pasta, puree it as a side dish for fish, or incorporate it into quiches and omelettes.

Characteristics: Because it is very delicate, only drizzle dressing over it right before serving.

Scarole

Flavour: pronounced, with a slight bitter taste.

How to use it in food: mix it with other types of mild-flavoured lettuce, serve it in a salad garnished with sharp-flavoured ingredients, serve it with slices of prosciutto, add it to potato or wild rice salads, or stuff it in homemade raviolis.

Characteristics: Its root is high in inulin, a carbohydrate from the fructan family (dietary fibre).

Arugula

Flavour: pungent and spicy.

How to use it in food: use it as pizza topping, incorporate it into pasta or risottos, serve it with smoked fish or as a pesto, or add it to soups or stews to bring out the flavour.

For delicious dressing ideas, or simply to make better choices at the grocery, read these articles: “The Right Dressing for Your Plate,” and “Healthy Vinaigrette Ideas for Your Salads.”

It would be entirely appropriate to add these vegetables to your menu, especially within the context of a weight loss process. Thanks to their high water content and low energy density, not only will you add a touch of freshness and variety to your plate, but you will also get a valuable ally to help you manage your hunger.

And you, what is your favourite type of lettuce?

By Valérie Noël, P.Dt., Nutritionist

References

Passeport santé. 2011. Le cresson dans l’alimentation. Online.http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=cresson_nu.” Page viewed on August 4,  2014.
Passeport santé. 2011. Mâche. Online. http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=mache_nu.” Page viewed on August 4,  2014.
Passeport santé. 2011. Chicorée et endive. Online. http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=chicoree_endive_nu.” Page viewed on August 6,  2014.
Passeport santé. 2011. Roquette. Online. http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=roquette_nu.” Page viewed on August 6,  2014.
Health Canada. 2012. Canadian Nutrient File. Online. “http://webprod3.hc-sc.gc.ca/cnf-fce/index-eng.jsp.” Page viewed on August 6,  2014.

Author
Valérie Noël

Holder of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Université Laval in 2006 and member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec, Valérie has been working as a nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since March 2014. Throughout her career, she has worked in various fields, from hospitals and physical rehabilitation to writing articles and reference documents. However, she has dedicated the majority of her work to food safety and allergies. Curious and versatile… but most of all, passionate about cooking and sports nutrition, she loves giving advice to her clients to help them make the best choices to reach their specific objectives, whatever they may be. Physical activity has always been an important part of her life: recreative and competitive volley-ball, training in the gym, group classes, and also running in the last few years. She also loves the feeling of freedom she gets from it, and would love to surpass herself by running increasingly longer distances during competitions!


Overview of Greensis a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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