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Eat (or drink) Your Greens!

posted Mar 16, 2015, 1:34 PM by   [ updated Jun 9, 2015, 6:30 AM ]
March is National Nutrition Month and also happens to be the month of all things green.  St. Patrick's day is March 17th, and it seems like everyone is trying to find new and creative ways to eat green food and drink green beverages in honor of the holiday.  Instead of relying on food coloring and other additives, try eating and drinking natural greens to be festive.  Check out the recipe section of this website for numerous salad recipes that include a variety of greens such as kale, spinach, arugula and watercress.  Chop greens finely and add to sauces, casseroles and other mixed dishes for a hidden nutrient boost. 

If salads aren't your style, try drinking your greens.  Simply add spinach or kale to your favorite fruit smoothie for a generous dose of Vitamin A, iron and folate.  Avocado, bananas or plain non-fat yogurt will add creaminess and extra nutrients to your smoothies to make them a more filling meal or snack.  Don't have a favorite smoothie recipe?  Try this simple formula for creating your signature green smoothie: 

  • Liquid: ½ cup-1 cup water, milk (or milk alternative), coconut water, or 100% juice (stick with 1/2 cup if using juice) 
  • Protein: 4-6 oz silken tofu or plain yogurt: Greek & Icelandic varieties provide a thicker, creamier texture and more protein than regular yogurt
  • Fruit: 1/2-2 cups;  Green fruits include kiwi, green apple, pear and avocado (yes, it is a fruit!).  Other fruit options are endless!  Berries, peaches, mango, banana and pineapple chunks are sure to add flavor, sweetness and micronutrients to any smoothie. Freeze fresh fruits or purchase unsweetened frozen fruits to keep your smoothie thick & ice cold. 
  • Greens : 1-2 cups baby spinach or kale;  Start slowly to find your "sweet spot" for adding greens to your smoothie.  The flavor and texture may take some getting used to!  Baby spinach has a milder flavor and texture while kale is a more sturdy and slightly bitter green. 
  • Optional Mix-Ins: 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, ground flaxseed or chia seeds will provide 1 serving of heart healthy fats;  other flavoring options include cinnamon, mint, basil, ginger, or vanilla beans/extract
  • Ice: 1/4-1/2 cup you will need closer to the 1/2 cup if using fresh fruit and closer to 1/4 cup if using frozen fruit
Start by pouring your liquid and yogurt/tofu into the bottom of the blender.  This will help all the ingredients combine more easily. Add in your fruit, greens, and optional mix-in. Blend to combine.  Add ice until desired thickness is achieved. 

This year, raise your frothy smoothie glass and cheers to a safe, happy and healthy St. Patrick's Day!