various green vegetables lying next to each other

How to Make Greens Exciting

“Leafy greens” is a broad term that includes a wide variety of vegetables that are green and packed with beneficial nutrients [1]. Arugula, kale, chard, collards, mustard greens, spinach, bok choy, dandelion greens, amaranth, endive, and watercress are all examples of leafy greens. The texture and taste of leafy greens vary and can depend on whether they are eaten raw or cooked [1].  

Most are in season from March to June, making them a healthy addition to delicious spring and summer recipes!  

A graphic showing pictures of leafy greens as mentioned in previous paragraph.

Why We Love Greens

  • Leafy greens are packed with lots of great vitamins and minerals.  
  • They have vitamins A, C, E, and K, along with manganese, calcium, and phosphorus [1]. 
  • Vitamin A helps your eyes, skin, and bones stay healthy and keeps your immune system running smoothly.  
  • Vitamins C and E act as antioxidants. Diets high in antioxidants are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and several other diseases. [2] 
  • Vitamin K helps blood clot when you get a cut and builds strong bones [2]. 
  • Spinach and dandelion greens are particularly good sources of iron, B vitamins, and copper [3]. 
  • Iron and copper team up to make red blood cells, and endives have zinc and pantothenic acid, which help your hair grow strong and healthy [4]. 


When buying leafy greens at the grocery store, choose crisp and deeply colored greens for the freshest and more nutrient-dense produce [1]. Watch out for yellowing or withering, slimy leaves, or brown spots. Stalks of Bok Choy should be firm, and watercress stems should not be slippery [5].  

Cleaning and Storing

hands rinsing fresh greens leaves under water in kitchen sink closeup.
  • When cleaning and storing greens, it is important to always wash them before storing them, as dirty produce can be covered in pathogens and bacteria [1]. 
  • After washing leafy greens, dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel to prevent them from growing mold or rotting when stored [6].  
  • After washing, place the greens in a bag or container in the fridge to prevent contamination. This way, they can stay fresh for 3-5 days [6].  

Ways to Use and Cook Greens:  

  • Leafy greens can be eaten raw, making for a flavorsome base for any type of salad. Try our Spinach and Pecan Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette for a delicious salad that can be enjoyed anytime.   
  • Leafy greens can be eaten steamed or sauteed as well. Keep in mind that some leafy greens, like spinach, cook faster than heartier leaves like kale.  
  • Have you tried baked kale chips?  Just add some olive oil and black pepper to some kale leaves and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Once the oven is ready, bake the kale leaves on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes and enjoy!  
  • Leafy greens are versatile and can be enjoyed in various dishes such as soups or egg dishes at any mealtime. Try our Spinach Fritatta for breakfast or our Vegan Mac and Cheese with Collards for lunch or dinner! 

Eating leafy greens is good for you because they are packed with lots of vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies strong and healthy. Because leafy greens come in so many different varieties and flavors, they can be added to all kinds of dishes. Next time you are at the grocery store, don’t forget to pick up some leafy greens to add a healthy boost to your meals. You could even try a different one each week and discover your favorite tastes and recipes!  








Published on April 10th, 2024

Written by Adelia Nunnally, MS/DI Student | Edited by Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RDN; Tristen T. Webb; the nutrition education team

Celebrating National Nutrition Month®

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics announces a new theme for National Nutrition Month every March. This year’s theme is Beyond the Table. Celebrate this month by following a healthy eating pattern, practicing food safety at home, and eating sustainably. Keep reading to discover how you can begin going Beyond the Table today. Also, stay tuned for an exciting invitation to a new way you can access all the fantastic blogs and tips provided by UGA SNAP-Ed! 

Follow a Healthy Eating Pattern  

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide a breakdown of the core foods we should eat daily and what we should limit [1]. Core foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein foods, and healthy oils. We should limit added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and alcohol intake. 

More Tips for Following A Healthy Eating Pattern  

  • Try different forms of food like fresh, frozen, canned, and dried.  
  • Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and mix up recipes.  
  • Bring a grocery list and explore sales!  

Practice Food Safety at Home  

Foodborne illness is a serious issue that affects millions of people each year [2]. To avoid getting sick, you should practice food safety at home. Here are four basic steps that can help you [3]: 

  1. Always wash your hands, counter, and cooking utensils with warm, soapy water.  
  1. Use separate plates and cutting boards when handling raw food.  
  1. Cook food at safe temperatures using a thermometer. 
  1. Chill your food correctly.  

Some more food safety tips: learn to meal plan to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and keep hot food at or above 140°F and cold food at or below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth [4]. For more details on the basics, check out our food safety blog

Eat Sustainably   

Eating sustainably means eating with the health of the environment and future generations in mind. You can eat sustainably by reducing food waste, buying seasonal foods, composting leftovers, and eating plant-based meals and snacks. Another great way to be sustainable and save money is by growing your own food at home or in a community garden. Even though National Nutrition Month® is in March, it’s always a good time to start eating healthier, being safe with food, and helping the environment.  





Published on March 28th, 2024

Written by Holly Cothern, MS/DI Student | Edited by Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RDN; Tristen T. Webb; the nutrition education team

Minestrone Soup

It’s a new year, and it’s time to mix it up! This year, UGA SNAP-Ed’s Recipe Calander theme is “Mix it up with color and flavor to fill your day!” Each month, the calendar will feature a new recipe with suggestions of ingredients to spice up your recipes with different flavors and nutrients.  

January is National Soup Month, so we are featuring Minestrone Soup. Minestrone soup originated in Italy as a dish to reduce food waste and use leftovers [1]. In fact, there is no exact recipe for Minestrone soup because Italians would use what they have on hand to make it [2]. The best part about Minestrone Soup is that you can add or take out an ingredient depending on what’s in your pantry or your budget. With beans and veggies being the star of this recipe, this makes it the perfect easy, cheap, nutritious soup to kick start your year.