First Posted: 3/14/2013
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Some of us may be celebrating St. Patty’s Day today, even if we are not Irish. Greens give us many nutrients for just a few calories. Broccoli, romaine, kale, collard greens, deep colored lettuces, unpeeled cucumbers and spinach are just a few to name.
In addition to celebrating with a shamrock in hand, try tasting a new green food.
March is National Nutrition Month and we are challenging readers to try a new food in each of the food groups. Grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy are the food groups. Have you tried any new foods yet?
Broccoli is an old standby but if you haven’t had it in a long time, it’s a good choice.
It is low in calories, high in vitamin C and a good source of both folate and vitamin A. Broccoli also contains phytochemicals that may help protect eyesight and prevent cancer.
Kale is an up and coming vegetable. It is a moderately-priced vegetable and easy to make. It can be served both in a stir fry, baked as kale chips or by itself sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
One serving (¾ cup) of kale has 155% of your body’s Vitamin A needs for the day and 100% of Vitamin C.
Mixed greens or leafy lettuce can be purchased prewashed and ready to enjoy as a salad. But did you ever wonder what the names of the greens were? Most commercial bags of greens have escarole, endive, romaine both green and red, green and red leaf lettuce, Boston and the list goes on All of these are low in calories; however beware, the salad dressing may not.
Prepare greens with food safety in mind. Lettuces may come prewashed or triple washed. It would clearly be written on the label. If not, then rinse each individual leaf under cool running water. All greens that do not say ready to eat on the label need to be washed, even organic ones.
Here are recipes for fresh spinach with black beans and Irish Potato Soup.
Spinach and Black Bean Salad
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard (Dijon or other)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
2 cups spinach (washed)
1 1⁄2 cup black beans (unsalted, fat free) rinsed
2 tomatoes (chopped) or may substitute red pepper
1 red onion (small, chopped)
In a large bowl, combine vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, oregano, basil and nutmeg. Wash, drain and chop spinach. Add spinach, black beans, tomatoes and onions to vinegar and oil. Courtesy of SNAP-ed USDA.
Irish Potato Soup
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup grated carrots
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups skim milk
In 2-quart saucepan, steam vegetables with chicken broth. Combine flour, oil and milk in container with cover. Shake and add to vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Makes four 1-cup servings.