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March 15, 2013

5 Green Super Foods for St. Patrick’s Day and Beyond

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

St. Patrick's Day lasts for only one day, but green foods are never out of fashion if you're a nutritionist like me, or someone who favors foods that pack a lot of nutrition per serving.

Here are some of my favorite green foods and a super smoothie to sip on, too!

Kiwi: These fuzzy fruit are full of folate, a B vitamin, vitamin C, and two plant compounds that promote healthy vision: lutein and zeaxanthin. No need to peel; I cut them in half and scoop out the fruit with a spoon. 

Avocado: Don't shy away from this creamy delight because of the fat; it's heart healthy and good for your skin. Avocados are rich in vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. I slice them in half, sprinkle on a little salt and eat with a spoon (see kiwi, above). They are also delicious smashed as a sandwich spread.

Edamame: Edamame are soybeans. Soy is supplies that same high-quality protein found in animal foods such as  meat, eggs, and milk. Soybeans are also rich in fiber.  My kids love to edamame.  I buy packages of frozen edamame in the pod to microwave and eat, and shelled edamame which we sauté with olive oil and minced garlic.

Green beans: Many green vegetables, including broccoli and asparagus, have a strong flavor. Green beans are a good choice for kids who turn up their noses at vegetables because they are mild-tasting, and because they provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Plus, green beans pack water to help you meet your fluid needs.

Spinach:  Spinach contains two powerful antioxidants that help to protect against cell damage.  It's also a source of bone-building vitamin K, which also helps your blood clot.  I add baby spinach to pasta dishes, salads, and smoothies, like the delicious Hood Shamrock Smoothie, below.

Hood Spinach-Banana Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

This smoothie supplies one serving of vegetables, one fruit serving, and nearly a full serving of dairy!

1 cup packed baby spinach, trimmed of stems
1 ripe medium banana, cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup Hood 1% Lowfat Milk
1 teaspoon sugar, if desired
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 ice cubes

Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, about 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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