A Nutritionist’s Top Tips for Adding More Dark Leafy Greens to Your Diet—Deliciously!

One piece of nutrition advice we can all agree on.

By Isabelle Eyman
megan oneill green smoothie

Far too often, nutrition advice can feel unnecessarily confusing. When am I supposed to eat? What’s the best bang-for-my-buck workout? Do I actually need a probiotic? The complex questions abound—which is why we’re dedicated to answering them all here at Camille Styles. But when it comes down to it, a few pieces of universal advice apply. Prioritize sleep, move your body in a way that feels supportive and joyful, seek purpose in your everyday, and eat a colorful diet that’s rich in a variety of nutrients. But on the topic of that final seemingly simple truth, there’s one part that always throws me for a loop: how to add more dark leafy greens to your diet.

Newsflash: The world of dark leafy greens is vast and rich. Some picks are hardy and spicy while others tend to be more mild and tender. There are those that work best in soups and other leafy greens that take center stage in vibrant, verdant sauces. Conclusion? There’s no shortage of ways to work these nutrient-dense wonders into your diet.

That’s why I tapped Mia Rigden, a Board-Certified nutritionist. Below, Mia shares all there is to know about getting our greens not only on the reg, but in the most delicious and simplest ways possible. Keep scrolling for Rigden’s expert tips—plus six recipes to get you started.

Featured image of Megan O’Neill by Belathée Photography.

pouring vinaigrette on salad how to add more dark leafy greens to your diet
Image by Michelle Nash
Mia-Rigden-Nutritionist_blood sugar and menstrual cycle
Mia Rigden, MS, CNS

As a board-certified nutritionist, classically-trained chef, and toddler mom, Mia understands how to blend nutrition science with exciting flavor combinations and the practicality needed to make healthy habits stick. Mia offers one-on-one coaching programs and online courses with recipes, nutrition and lifestyle tips to help her people find realistic and enjoyable ways to improve their health and quality of life. She is the Author of The Well Journal, and will release her first cookbook in January 2023. Mia lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and son.

To start, why is it important that we get our daily requirement of leafy greens?

Leafy greens are a nutrition powerhouse! They’re full of vitamins, like vitamins K, C, and E; minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium; and phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which provide cellular protection, improve eye health, and even have some anti-aging properties.

How do these veggies support our overall wellness?

Leafy greens provide some fiber and protein to keep you full and satisfied. With all this nutrition, they can reduce bloating, help relieve stress, improve gut health, enhance detoxification, support the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, and more. 

What foods fall under the “leafy greens” category?

When it comes to leafy greens, the darker the pigment, the more nutrition it has. The list of leafy greens include:

  • kale
  • spinach
  • collard greens
  • cabbage
  • watercress
  • beet greens
  • arugula
  • romaine lettuce
  • chard
  • mustard greens
  • endive
  • bok choy
  • turnip greens
woman drinking green smoothie how to add more dark leafy greens to your diet
Image by Belathée Photography

What tips and tricks make it easy to get your greens at every meal?

When you start thinking outside the (CSA) box, you’ll start to find plenty of delicious ways you can work your dark leafy greens into every meal, every day. Rigden shares her top six tips:

1. Throw a handful of greens into your daily smoothie to start the day with extra nutrition.

2. Eggs are a great vehicle for sautéed greens of all varieties. I love making a frittata with fresh greens to have throughout the week. It’s a cook once, eat many times type of dish.

3. If you’re strapped for time, buy organic pre-washed greens for quick and easy salads and bowls throughout the week. 

4. Find a CSA or visit a farmers market to support local agriculture and get fresh, seasonal greens each week. 

5. When cooking, use the whole plant and find uses for the stems, stalks, and leaves you might ordinarily throw away. Beet greens, for example, are highly nutritious, as are broccoli leaves, parsley stems, kale stems, and other commonly discarded plant parts. Smoothies, sautés, pestos, and soups are a great way to sneak those extra greens in. 

6. Many of the vitamins in leafy greens are fat soluble, meaning they need to be eaten with fat in order to be absorbed. Don’t be afraid to dress your greens with olive oil, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, or another fat source. 

Image of Kimberly Snyder by Teal Thomsen

Our Favorite Powders and Blends for an Everyday Boost of Greens

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For the Whole Foods Fanatic

Possible SuperGreens is perfect for the person marking their first foray into the wide world of greens powders. While we always prefer getting our vitamins and nutrients from whole foods sources, this option might just be the next best thing. Each scoop contains 23 whole-food ingredients, including high-quality fruits and veggies, to keep your energy high and steady throughout the day. It’s a clean, gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO way to get all the good stuff you need for optimal health. Now that’s a micro-habit we recommend adding to your 2023 routine.

For the Greens-Obsessed Aesthete

In-the-know wellness gals love Sakara for their signature, stunning meal programs (everything from metabolism-focused resets to plans designed for a gut health boost). But if you’re a true fan of the brand, then you’ve also likely dived deep into their supplements and snacks for on-the-go, in-a-pinch nutrition. My favorite among them? This greens super powder. I love blending it into my favorite smoothie—green or otherwise—for an additional boost of plant-based protein and detoxification support. Oh—and the bag is sure to sit pretty in any pantry.

For the Person Who Lives by Their Routine

I started my AG1 ritual a few months back, and while it was admittedly hard for me to get used to the flavor at first, I’ve since become hooked. After chatting with a few co-workers (including Camille herself!), I discovered that AG1 is our shared obsession. You’ve likely heard it advertised on your favorite wellness podcasts or touted by all the healthy creators on your social feeds. If you haven’t, then buckle up. A single scoop of AG1 contains prebiotics and probiotics to support gut health, your daily dose of vitamin C and zinc to boost immunity, and 75 high-quality vitamins, minerals, and whole-food sourced nutrients to support you in your healthiest life. Convinced? I thought so.

For the Sea-Veggie Curious

According to Pinterest’s 2023 trends report, “the hottest superfoods will be from the sea.” Mindbodygreen is already way ahead of the curve, having packed their organic veggies+ blend with sea vegetables (not to mention leafy greens, berries, herbs, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics) for years. And while that blend of ingredients may raise eyebrows in terms of taste, I can confirm: it’s delicious. Similar to the Sakara powder, I like adding a scoop of organic veggies+ to everything from smoothies to oatmeal—even hummus has proven tasty. Plus, the blend is backed by some of our favorite experts in the health field (think: Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN; Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN; and Ash Wilking of Nike Training fame).

6 Recipes That Make It Easy (And Delicious!) To Get Your Dark Leafy Greens

Greens powders are all well and good—and a much-loved part of our everyday routines here at Camille Styles. But if you really want to go all in with the good stuff, we recommend looking for easy and delicious ways to add greens to every meal all throughout the day. And while that might sound like a tall order, getting your dark leafy greens is just one sip or spoonful away. *Trust*

Almond Butter Green Smoothie

Almond Butter Green Smoothie

Why We Love It: I couldn’t agree with Mia more—smoothies are one of my favorite ways to get my greens! Already a morning habit, I simply throw in a handful of spinach or another neutral-tasting dark leafy green and go. When I’m wanting something that strays a bit from the path of my regular beverage/meal hybrid (I thrive on repetition), this is the recipe I turn to. It’s full of healthy fats, fiber, and general all-around goodness. What’s not to love?

Hero Ingredient: The almond butter seamlessly blends together with the other healthy ingredients, but will give your smoothie just the right amount of decadence.

Vegan Pesto

Vegan Pesto

Why We Love It: Pesto is one of my favorite things to make. Not only is it perhaps the best example of a low-maintenance, high-reward recipe, but the options are truly endless when it comes to all the ways you can experiment with different ingredients and components. Case in point, this vegan take on the classic. The combo of spinach and basil gives the sauce a little spicy bite, which I’m totally here for.

Hero Ingredient: Pairing pine nuts and hemp seeds gives your pesto a creamy, dreamy, and delightful texture—not to mention plenty of healthy fats.

Big Green Immunity-Boosting Vegetable Soup

Big Green Immunity-Boosting Vegetable Soup

Why We Love It: Camille developed this recipe a couple of years ago, and since then, it’s grown to become one of our most popular recipes of all time. The accolade is definitely not without merit. Not only does it pack an impressive amount of green veggies into every bowl, but it’s impressively cozy while still tasting fresh.

Hero Ingredient: Ginger gives everything a little warm, grounding spice, beautifully tying together all of this soup’s many vegetables.

Hummus, Greens, & Avo Bowl

Hummus, Greens, & Avo Bowl

Why We Love It: Salad, but make it enticing enough to enjoy every day of the week. For years now, I’ve been making a variation of this meal for just about every workday lunch. It’s quick and endlessly satisfying (keeping me from falling victim to the dreaded afternoon slump). This recipe pairs protein with greens to perfection.

Hero Ingredient: Perfectly soft-boiled eggs are a thing of beauty.

Kale Citrus Salad

Why We Love It: There’s nothing I find more inspiring at mealtime than a bowl that’s brimming with colorful ingredients. While it’s true that I rarely crave salad in the colder months, this kale-citrus spin couldn’t be more satiating. It’s bright, crunchy, and boasts a totally-craveable spicy tahini dressing.

Hero Ingredient: Let me introduce you to the genius that is toasted panko breadcrumbs in a salad. They’re just one of the beautiful things that make this dish a delicious delight.

Green Sauce Pasta

Green Sauce Pasta

Why We Love It: The most brilliant way to get your dark leafy greens since the inception of the green smoothie—and I’m proud to say that this recipe put us ahead of the curve. Blending spinach, asparagus, basil, and peas with olive oil and parmesan creates a creamy and cheesy sauce that you’ll scoop up with reckless abandon. You’ll be craving this from now all the way through spring.

Hero Ingredient: Top your pasta with liberal servings of burrata. It adds the ultimate indulgence factor.