"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Now most of you are probably thinking about green beer and other Irish specialties. Since March is National Nutrition Month and the theme is Eat Right with Color, I was of course inspired to write something about green vegetables. I was thinking about how many I eat on a regular basis. In general green vegetables (and fruits) have many benefits including: promoting healthy vision, supporting strong bones and teeth, reducing cancer risk. I was thinking about how many I eat on a regular basis. Here are my top 7 lucky favorites:

1) Brussels Sprouts- They look like baby cabbages. A member of the cruciferous family (broccoli, kale cabbage and bok choy also belong to this group), Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamins, fiber and disease fighting phytochemicals. I buy them in the bag and steam them in the microwave. Yum!

2) Broccoli- When my brother was little, we told him that they were trees (a good tip for you moms who are trying to entice your kids to eat veggies). You can either buy it fresh or frozen. I usually do the frozen and can get it cheap with coupons:)

3) Kale- This is one of the newest additions to my diet. Kale is similar to the taste of greens but without the bitterness. This vegetable is popular served as chips toasted in the oven. I prefer to sauté it with balsamic vinegar and minced garlic. I have also tried it in a smoothie- the green color doesn’t look appetizing, but it is delicious.

4) Spinach- As a child, I never liked spinach. I always remember at school it was served as a slimy mess along with ham and beans, cornbread and a carrot stick. I was a finicky eater and didn’t eat much that day. But as an adult I tried spinach raw in a salad and loved it. This is a great tip if you are trying to incorporate more veggies in your diet. Try the vegetable a different way. If you don’t like it raw, try it cooked and vice versa.

5) Sugar Snap Peas- I love these, whether it be in a stir fry or just plain. Buy Green Giant frozen in the box. Just pop it in the microwave- so easy!

6) Asparagus- I usually have to wait until it goes on sale since it is a little pricy. Delicious lightly sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic.

7) Bell peppers- high in vitamin C (the other colors- red, yellow and orange are even better sources). The possibilities are endless. Sauté it along with onions and add to ground beef to use in lots of different recipes. Dice to add in chili, omelets, stir fries, and curries.

What are your favorite green vegetables? If you can’t think of seven, I would encourage you to increase your intake. Try a new vegetable. Here are some other green ones: cabbage, zucchini, lima beans, green beans, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, bok choy, cucumber or Swiss chard.

For more information about the nutritional profile and health benefits of these vegetables, check out www.whfoods.com. This is an awesome site!

Kale and Buttercrunch lettuce from my outdoor garden:)

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