Go Green [with your diet] for St. Patrick’s Day

What comes to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? Corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, fish and chips, and all sorts of foods and drinks dyed green – from beer to cupcakes. You don’t have to completely skip the traditional dishes, but try incorporating foods that are naturally green for a nutrient boost. Foods like leafy greens, broccoli, avocados, green apples, kiwi and artichokes are all nutrient dense foods that can make your meals and snacks not only good for you, but festive.

Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens are all rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Consumption of leafy greens helps with skin and bone health, heart health, vision, and boosting your immune system. Try incorporating leafy greens as a salad base, in eggs, in smoothies, in pasta, or on sandwiches.

Broccoli is packed with vitamins and minerals to promote bone and skin health, as well as heart and nerve function. It is a great source of fiber to promote digestive health and lower cholesterol. Try incorporating broccoli as a snack with hummus (preferably from one of our favorite local restaurants, Oasis Falafel in Iowa City), as a side dish, in pasta, or even in a smoothie.

Avocados are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals to boost immune function. Incorporate avocados on salads, as a spread or dip, with eggs, or in a smoothie.

Kiwi is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which helps to boost the immune system. It is also a good source of fiber to help with digestive health and satiety. Try incorporating kiwi fruit as a snack with nuts, as a side to lunch, in a smoothie, or with yogurt.

Green apples are full of fiber, which helps with digestive health and satiety. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones and teeth, as well as vision. They also contain antioxidants to boost your immune system. Try incorporating green apples on a panini, in a pita, on a salad, as a topping on pork, or in a smoothie.

Artichokes are a good source of vitamins and minerals that promote hearth health. They also are packed with immune boosting antioxidants. Try incorporating artichokes in eggs, in pasta, on a sandwich, or on a salad.

It’s easy to add these green foods into your favorite meals and snacks throughout the day, not only for St. Patrick’s Day, but all year round.

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe

Try this healthy, green (but still delicious) smoothie recipe to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Leprechaun Smoothie:

1 banana
1 cup spinach
2 kiwis, without skin
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup milk of choice
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
ice cubes for desired consistency

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