broccoli and lettuce

Lisa Cooper, MS, RD, LDN
Dietitian, Orlando Health Center for Health Improvement

March means the start of Spring, new green growth and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. Thinking ‘green’ can even be a part of your food plan. Green leafy vegetables like salad greens, kale and spinach are a low carb, low calorie option that pack a nutritional punch. Leafy and dark green veggies provide vitamins A, C, E, and K and B vitamins. In addition, dark green veggies are loaded with antioxidants and may be some of the best cancer-fighting foods.

Ways to Enjoy Greens

  • Eat mixed green salads with spinach, kale and romaine. Any dark green will do!
  • Put spinach at the bottom of your next bowl of soup or chili. The heat wilts the spinach and it easily blends into the dish.
  • Stir fry broccoli, spinach and bok choy with garlic, onion and ginger.
  • Add spinach to any smoothie. It won’t change the taste, just the color.
kale
pesto

St. Patty’s Pesto

  • 16 oz Whole wheat gnocchi
  • 2 Tbsp Pesto, jar or home made
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Broccoli, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts

Boil whole wheat gnocchi according to package directions; drain.  Lightly saute’ garlic in in olive oil.  Add broccoli and saute until slightly tender.  Add gnocchi and 2 Tbsp pesto (or to taste) and warm through.  Top with pine nuts.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Serves 4

Green Shamrock Smoothie

  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pineapple chunks in 100% juice
  • 3 cups green grapes
  • 1 1/2 ripe bananas, frozen
  • Water

Blend all ingredients together.  Add water to thin or ice for a thicker smoothie.

Serves approximately 6 (1-cup) servings

Find easy ways to incorporate dark green vegetables into your menu at least 2 to 3 times per week for added nutrition. Make it a habit to benefit your health, for life.

Do you have a fun green recipe? Share it with us! We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

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