Go Green Every Day!
Many of us “went green” on March 17th, celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with corned beef, the “much maligned” spud (completely misunderstood), parades, and green beer. But by going green, just a little in our every day diets and our St. Patrick’s celebration, we can improve our health leaps and bounds. (And we can eat those potatoes).
Adding a daily dose of healthy greens to our diets means introducing a powerhouse of nutrients and vitamins to our bodies. Greens are essential, matching our needs better than any other food group. They offer some spectacular functions including: fiber, proteins, antioxidants, calcium, beta-carotene, folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, caratonoids, vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxathin. That, in and of itself, is a mouthful. (Go here for a breakdown of all the nutrients in thousands of foods.) The bottom line is registered dietitians and nutritionists, as well as personal trainers, give their clients the green light to indulge! With greens, the sky’s the limit.
But when faced with bringing greens to the table, we have that age-old “ick” issue (especially with kids). There are great ways to incorporate greens in our family’s diet and add some new ones that fly under the radar, like seaweed and kale.
Green smoothies: Frozen bananas, fresh squeezed orange juice, blended with some leafy greens (spinach, seaweed, Swiss chard) all served in a beautiful cup with a straw can be a great way to entice your family.
Kale chips: Popeye would’ve eaten this super food up! Kale has vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and potassium, among other properties. Its phytonutrients are believed to help lower the risk of cancers, breast, prostate, ovarian, colon and bladder among them. So, move over, Spud (and spinach). Just for today! Get the recipe: Baked Kale Chips>
Mashed potatoes with kale: This Irish dish, colcannon, can be a hit! Kids loved mashed potatoes. Potatoes offer potassium, fiber and folate. Finely cut up kale and cut back on the cream (replacing with natural yogurt), to make a delicious, more balanced, high nutrient, dish. Get the recipe: Colcannon >
Puree, shred or finely chop: Zucchini, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, seaweed … then add to soup, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, muffins, and quick breads to power up your dish.
Yogurt dips and sauces: Raw broccoli is delicious dipped.
Seaweed: Seaweed is a unique source of a nutrient most foods don’t have: iodine. At two tablespoons a serving, we don’t need a lot for a bang. Stir a tablespoon in a smoothie, salad dressing, dips, and soup stock. When shopping green, pick up some seaweed for a change.
When adding greens to our meals, variety is key. Each green, from kale to seaweed, broccoli to spinach, brings something different to the table and our bodies in terms of flavor and nutrients. And by adding a daily dose of greens, we can celebrate St. Patrick’s all year long. Here are some great green recipes: Baked Kale Chips • Colcannon
So, lift your green smoothie (or beer) and slainte! Erin go bragh!