While there are many diets and eating plans floating around right now in the fitness world, we all can agree that eating dark, leafy greens are essential to a healthy nutrition plan. They provide fiber, Vitamin K and A and are a source of antioxidants. If you’re missing these in your diet, you’re missing out on a lot of their health benefits. This can be a hard fact to swallow for some—literally. If you never got over your childhood disgust of vegetables, or are just tired of chewing broccoli, don’t give up the greens. Get creative.

For when you need your protein too: Blend it up
One of the easiest ways to mask not only the texture, but the taste of kale or spinach, is in a smoothie. Throw in your favorite protein powder, water or milk of your choice, fruit, a handful of greens and ice and blend. Depending on your other ingredients, you might end up with a funky colored drink, but you’ll be holding a delicious, vitamin-packed liquid meal.

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For when you need a quick, easy serving of greens: Spinach lemonade
This is a hack for those times when you don’t necessarily need a full meal, but know you need to get some greens in and don’t want to cook. Grab your blender and add ten ounces of water, a single-serve packet of sugar free powdered lemonade and a handful of spinach. Blend well and serve over ice. The lemonade flavor completely masks the spinach flavor, giving you a refreshing green drink with raw veggies that goes down easy.

For when you want a sweet treat: Zucchini desserts
In the same way bananas provide bread and muffins with moist tenderness, so do another green: the reliable, multi-use zucchini. They can be shredded and used in baked goods to provide a serving of vegetables while keeping your favorite treats low-carb. Check out this recipe for Paleo zucchini bread  or this one for lemon poppyseed zucchini muffins.

For when you don’t even want to see the greens: Powder it
While one of the big benefits of eating raw or cooked greens is the satiating feeling you get from their high water content, greens like kale can be dehydrated and still retain much of their nutritional value. Dry a batch of kale either low and slow in an oven or with a food dehydrator. Then add to a food processor and create kale powder. Pour in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. Sprinkle it in pasta sauce, meatloaf or casserole, soups, or smoothies for a sneaky nutritional boost.

 

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