What better way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day than with a few green dishes on the dinner table? If you are looking for some ideas on how to serve up some festively green foods, here are 10 ideas to add some festive color to any St. Patrick's Day meal.
Just one serving of broccoli has a mere 45 calories in a 5.3 ounce serving, but contains a whopping 220 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. That's more vitamin C than all the citrus fruits. So what does this mean for the human body? Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant and vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer.
Leeks have a taste that is like a cross between an onion and garlic, which makes them a great addition to the potatoes that are usually served on St. Patrick's Day. One serving of leeks provides 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is good for vision health. Many Americans suffer from vision problems as they get older, so eating a diet rich vitamin A can help reduce vision problems later in life.
Popeye's favorite vegetable is also one that has a number of beneficial effects on the body. According to The Nutrition Source, a publication put out by Harvard Medical School, the beneficial nutrients in spinach have been shown in research to reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, lower blood pressure, lower the risk of developing cancer, improve gastrointestinal health and improve vision. No wonder Popeye loved his spinach so much.
Like its cousin spinach, kale has the same nutrients that will provide the same health benefits. And with a large number of Americans developing high blood pressure at some point in their lives, that's all the more reason to eat up this green vegetable. But kale is often a vegetable that is used as a garnish rather than eaten, so try this: Mix some kale with potatoes and leeks and mash them up for a festive green side dish. There are also a number of tasty recipes for kale that can be found just by doing a simple internet search.
Avocados are great for numerous dishes because they fall into the savory category. Aside from making great guacamole (a favorite at any time of the year), they can also be added to salads, or mashed and used as a spread instead of butter or margarine. According to the California Avocado Commission, avocados contain about 20 essential vitamins and nutrients, and they also contain "good fats" that aid in the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from other foods. Mash some avocados in with the ubiquitous potatoes on St. Patrick's Day instead of butter for a creamy, green side that is significantly lower in saturated fat than those made with butter. Or, spread some on your left over corned beef sandwich the next day.
6. Brussels Sprouts
While Brussels sprouts might look like little cabbages, they are actually in the same family with cauliflower. Part of the cruciferous family, research has shown that eating a diet containing this vegetable helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Brussels sprouts can be used as a vitamin packed alternative to cabbage.
Asparagus is perhaps one of the healthiest foods that a person can eat. On the completeness scale, which is just one way that a food is measured to see how healthy it is, asparagus scores a 94 out of a possible 100. It is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for blood coagulation, as well as vitamin A, which aids in vision, and fiber. Asparagus can be prepared in any number of ways and would be a great addition to any St. Patrick's Day meal.
This one might seem a little bit odd, but artichokes are really quite healthy. They are rich in beneficial fiber, as well as being a good source of B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and many other nutrients. However, they become less than healthy when people slather them with melted butter. Instead try stuffing them with seasoned bread crumbs, drizzling them with olive oil and steaming them. It's a much healthier way to go.
Celery is one vegetable that is often cooked with corned beef on St. Patrick's Day, but often it is just discarded instead of being eaten. Celery is rich in vitamin K and vitamin A and is a good source of fiber. The other good news is that celery has a large amount of water in it, which means that a serving of celery, which is about two stalks, has a lot of bulk without a lot of calories.
Collards are a green leafy vegetable that have a similar nutrient content as that of kale or spinach. Collards can be cooked a number of ways for various dishes. However, they can turn out bitter if not cooked right. A simple Internet search will offer up a variety of delicious ways to prepare this vegetable that will be a new and exciting addition to any St. Patrick's Day feast.
Green foods can be quite tasty in addition to having a number of great health benefits. So this St. Patrick's Day, serve up some green vegetables and fruits, and celebrate good health.