We’ve all been taught to eat our greens but many people have trouble fitting the recommended amount, as suggested by Canada’s Food Guide, into their daily diet. Reasons range from preparation time and affordability as prices rise to digestibility issues. But in 2012, the USDA published a study praising the high nutritional value of microgreens — as they offer a viable alternative to individuals looking for a product that is flavourful, easy to use, and nutritionally dense.

Greenbelt Microgreens is a local Ontario grower who started planting microgreens in 2010. “Part of the problem with eating more vegetables is the digestibility of the fibre,” says Ian Adamson, Founder and CEO of the company. “Fibre actually ties up some of the vegetable’s nutritional availability and makes you feel really full, really quickly without receiving as much nutrition as you would be getting with microgreens.”

The USDA supported this theory in its assessment of edible microgreens. “One of the things the report said is that one quarter cup of broccoli greens, for instance, has the same nutritional value of two heads of broccoli,” Adamson explains. “This is because a lot of the nutrition is stored in the stem, leaves, and seed of the young plant, giving it the energy it needs to grow.” Microgreens, which are simply vegetables at the early stages of their life, only grow for 10 to 14 days before they are harvested.

Mega flavour, low effort

Microgreens have moved from a food product mostly used by savvy chefs to the dinner table at home. “After the report was published, microgreens started receiving attention from dieticians, nutritionists, doctors, and then consumers because not only are they good for you — they taste delicious,” says Ian Ritchie, an owner at Greenbelt Microgreens. “I put them in salads, sandwiches, and smoothies or on pizzas and pasta. To keep the nutritional value, eat them uncooked.”

A wide variety of microgreens are available, including broccoli, arugula, sunflower, pea, radish, basil, and mixes such as Sweet & Crunchy and Spicy Mix. These little nutritional powerhouses can be found in most Ontario grocery stores and have a long 13-day shelf life. With a variety of types available, microgreens are an easy staple that pack a mega punch — add them to your diet today!