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Embracing Winter Greens

by Kelly Morrow, MS, RND, FAND; IMPEDE Study Dietitian

Photo of several bowls holding dry beans.

Because we have milder weather here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to be able to enjoy a wide variety of greens throughout the winter. Some of you may have seen kale still growing in local gardens or bunches of arugula and cabbage at farmers markets. Some of the more tender greens like lettuce and spinach can grow in greenhouses at this time of year. Eating more greens not only boosts your MEDAS score but can support digestion by providing fiber and helps reduce inflammation. Greens are a nutrient packed source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, K and folate – all essential nutrients for cellular growth and repair in your digestive system and throughout your body.


Here is a list of some of the fresh greens that you can find available during the winter:

  • Kale

  • Arugula

  • Swiss chard

  • Cabbage

  • Lettuces 

  • Spinach

  • Tatsoi

  • Mizuna

  • Mache


There are many ways to add greens to your diet. They can be eaten raw in salads or quickly steamed or sautéed. Add to soups and smoothies for a nutritional boost, or puree mild tasting greens like spinach into tomato sauce. Most greens are also great in pesto. Blend with nuts and olive oil to make delicious dipping sauces for raw vegetables or crackers, a simple pasta sauce, or a topping for simple roasted fish or chicken. Find additional recipe ideas on our website, under the leafy greens category!


We are lucky to be able to eat fresh local greens year around in the Pacific Northwest. They enhance our meals, aid digestion and allow us to support local farmers in our community. You can challenge yourself to try a new variety of kale, or pick up something new like tatsoi or mizuna if you have never tried them.  Each has it own unique nutrient profile and flavors.


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