May the Luck of the Irish be with you! If you’re looking to add some green to your St. Patrick’s Day this year but want to be healthy, think about green veggies. Although we all have our go to favorites, you can always benefit from adding something new to your plate. So, for the next four weeks here are some green vegetables you can add to get your Irish on:
Week #1: Kale
Leafy and green, kale is one powerhouse of a green veggie. Just one cup gives you three grams of protein, over 200% of vitamin A, over 100% of vitamin C, and over 600% of vitamin K. On top of that, kale is a great antioxidant and is high in fiber.
The key to kale is removing the stems, which can be bitter. After that it can be roasted, steamed, sautéed, even added to smoothies.
Week #2: Spinach
The great thing about spinach is there is a ton of varieties to try. You can have it fresh, cooked, or prepare from frozen. One study has indicated that adding spinach to a smoothie in the morning can help manage hunger so you stay full longer throughout the day. Meanwhile, spinach is full of nutrients and high in fiber, and can help manage asthma and blood pressure.
Soups and salads are a great way to get spinach into your diet, but don’t stop there.
Week #3: Swiss Chard
Available in different varieties (and fresh from the garden), Swiss chard is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, copper and manganese. Also full of antioxidants (like most dark, leafy green veggies), Swiss chard features 13 different varieties and is a terrific source of vitamin K – over 600% of your daily value per 1 cup steamed. And, at just 35 calories and a good source of fiber, it’s perfect for helping you feel fuller, longer.
Again you can have Swiss chard in a variety of ways: steamed, fresh, in a stir-fry, soup, or salad. You can add to smoothies too. One note: cooking for shorter periods helps to preserve the nutrients.
Week #4: Asparagus
And now for something completely different! Considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, asparagus is widely available locally in the spring and delicious to cook and eat fresh. Asparagus is a great anti-inflammatory and is rich in antioxidants – including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E.
You can stir fry asparagus, have it sautéed, steamed, or even roasted. Add some garlic, olive oil, and a touch of salt and you’ll have a feast!
So, now you’re set for St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the next month with some health-boosting green vegetables.