Nutrition Corner: Go Irish and add a little green into your diet


Nutrition Corner - Mary R. Ehret



There is a bit of Irish in all of us! With spring around the corner, the color green gets us energized and wanting to eat healthy. Can you and your family get in the Irish spirit and try a new dark green vegetable?

Kale is a great vegetable to start with. Although it is a dark green vegetable, it is from the cruciferous family. Kale is reasonably priced and has a good shelf life in the refrigerator. It stays fresh longer than most leafy greens, so if your schedule doesn’t work for preparing it tonight, chances are that it will remain fresh for the next day.

The USDA dietary guidelines encourage adults and children to eat a variety of dark green vegetables. Over the course of one week, it is recommended that adults, girls and boys eat 1 ½ cups. Children ages 4-8 should eat 1 cup and children ages 2-3 should eat 1/2 cup. Examples of leafy greens are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy, broccoli, and romaine lettuce. These vegetables are high in vitamins A, C, K and fiber.

What if your family hasn’t tried any dark green vegetables before? It’s best to make a rule in your home. If two like it, serve it again. Serving vegetables at meals does take some teamwork.

Consider being a change agent to influence family vegetable habits. This will be easier and more fun if you can form a family team that agrees to try the recipes. The key members of your team include yourself, your partner, any other adult caregiver in your household and older children.

You will have to decide on whose opinions, the parents’/adults’ or the children’s, carry the most weight.

If two parents/adults like the vegetable dish, it would be served again, even if some or all the children don’t like it. This rule allows both parents/adults to serve as role models.

Keep one person’s dislikes from vetoing a new vegetable or recipe. The idea that everyone has to like what is served is pretty common in families, but this really limits your ability to introduce new foods. Or, if one parent/adult and one child like it, it can be served again, also.

Here are recipes to get you in the spirit of the Irish. This smoothie recipe uses dark green vegetables and it’s easy to make. It is great for breakfast or as an evening snack.

Pineapple Orange Smoothie

Makes 3 8-ounce servings

3 cups fresh chopped spinach

½ cup soy milk, skim milk or plain low-fat yogurt

1 cup orange juice

1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh, frozen or canned unsweetened

1 banana, fresh, or sliced and frozen

Put the spinach, milk and juice in the blender. Put the top on tightly.

Blend until the mixture is very smooth and no green leaves are visible.

Add pineapple and banana. Blend again until smooth.

Serve right away, or store in the fridge up to 4 hours. (Can also be frozen.)

Apple Kale Smoothie

Makes 2 8-ounce servings

1 cup fresh chopped kale

¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt, soy milk or skim milk

1 cup apple juice

1 overripe banana, fresh, or sliced and frozen

Put the kale, milk and juice in the blender. Put the top on tightly.

Blend until the mixture is very smooth and no green leaves are visible.

Add banana. Blend again until smooth.

Serve right away, or store in the fridge up to 4 hours. (Can also be frozen.)

Enjoy!

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Nutrition Corner

Mary R. Ehret

Mary R. Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan, and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at mre2@psu.edu.

Mary R. Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan, and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at mre2@psu.edu.

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