Even if you are not Irish, you most likely celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to either drink a lot of beer or munch on a ton of different green foods. Holidays don’t always have to be unhealthy though. There are a ton of foods out there that can be festive as well as healthy. This year, celebrate St. Patty’s Day by impressing your friends and family by whipping up some dishes that contain healthy green ingredients. According to Self Nutrition Data, the following green foods contain vitamins and nutrients that you can make use of this Irish holiday.
#1. Avocados. You can do a lot with avocados. They make for a great add to salads, salsas, dressings, sauces, and of course, guacamole! Avocados provide close to 20 essential nutrients and although they contain a lot of fat, it is monounsaturated fat, also know as “the good fat.” Cindy Coffey, a history graduate student, said, “I love to use avocadoes in salads and to make homemade guacamole. It also makes a great topping for burgers.” Avocadoes make for a great green and healthy snack for your St. Patty’s party.
#2. Kale. If you have not already tried kale, you need to. Tossing kale into salads, pastas, soups, and stews is a great way to add a little green into your dishes. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse considering it is packed with vitamins, calcium, fiber, magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Coffey said, “I also love to use kale in my recipes. I eat it raw in salads and put it in homemade soups. I also love to sauté it with garlic as a side vegetable.” You can also make a healthier version of potato chips by subbing them with kale chips. Sprinkle some salt, garlic and olive oil on top and bake in the oven for ten minutes until crisp.
#3. Kiwi. Kiwi is a great, tropical fruit that people love to munch on. This fruit is a bright source of potassium, Vitamin E, folate, and fiber and can also assist with eye healthy and support a healthy cardiovascular system. You can throw kiwis into smoothies, on salads, in cold soups, in desserts, or just eat them on their own.
#4. Green peppers. These vegetables can be used in a variety of things and can be used for any meal. They make for a great add to omelets in the morning, salads for lunch, and toss them into a stir-fry to make a delicious dinner! Lauren DeSantis, a senior business management student, said “I love to use green peppers in my vegetarian recipes. I recently made a dish for my up and coming vegetarian food truck, Vegicrayz. It was a breakfast skillet with potatoes, red and green peppers, onions, liquid egg whites, vegetarian bacon, topped with shredded cheese and habanero sauce.” You can really do anything with green peppers.
#5. Broccoli. There are so many different ways you can incorporate broccoli into your dishes. Add broccoli into your salads, pastas, soups, stir-fries, soups, much on them raw with or without dip, or even have them as a side dish. Broccoli is packed with vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, folate, iron, fiber, and potassium. Adding broccoli to your dishes on St. Patty’s Day allow you to incorporate the green festivities while also being very healthy.
#6. Limes. These citrus fruits can be added to so many things without people even realizing it. Adding fresh lime juice or grated lime zest to any dressings, sauces, soups, marinades, and desserts is so simple and so satisfying. You can simply squeeze a fresh lime into your water or unsweetened tea for a refreshing taste. Limes contain vitamin C and help the immune system, build collagen, and keep your cells healthy.
#7. Spinach. Andrea Hope, assistant professor of health and physical education, said, “My favorite green food, without a doubt, is spinach. It is extremely good for you, and I think it tastes better than kale. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K, folate and iron. Depending on how you cook it – it is also low in calories and fat and high in dietary fiber”. There is a lot of different ways to cook with spinach. Hope enjoys using baby spinach in her salads and homemade soups. “I also smuggle it into my daughters whole wheat quesadillas and smoothies (don’t tell). One of my favorites on cold days – Sautéed spinach with garlic and hot peppers,” Hope said.
#8. Cabbage. What is St. Patrick’s Day without cabbage? It can be eaten raw, tossed in salads, stirred into soups and stews, or, of course, with corn beef. Rich in vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, fiber, and B vitamins, it won’t be hard to incorporate this green veggie into your holiday.
Eating healthy is not as hard as people think. When one thinks holiday: unhealthy, splurge day and alcohol come to mind. This does not always have to be the case. You can be festive and healthy at the same time. Go green this St. Patrick’s Day.