This month gives us many reasons to celebrate all things green with National Nutrition Month and St. Patrick’s Day! Skip shamrock shakes and instead opt for nature’s green foods! After all, they pack in some of the highest amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants of all the fruits and vegetables out there.
Follow the rainbow to your grocery store and your pot of gold will be the nutrient richness you are adding to your diet. Going green is easy with these five green foods that are easy to incorporate into your daily meals:
Greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, swiss chard and more make up the leafy green family that is loaded with an alphabet of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Leafy greens are the MVPs of the supermarket produce section, and this month is the perfect time to focus on incorporating them into your diet in fun ways. Sneak a handful of spinach into your morning smoothie or use large lettuce leaves as wraps instead of tortillas. Simply adding a side salad to pizza night can help you reap the rewards and goodness of greens!
Not just for fall, pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of many nutrients we often lack, not to mention a great source of plant-based protein. Magnesium for muscle (and overall!) relaxation, iron for oxygenating the blood and zinc to protect your immune system are just a few of the benefits of these green seeds! Sprinkle them on just about anything or let 88 Acres do the work for you with their Pumpkin Seed Butter. It’s a great alternative for those who are nut-free, and an overall delicious topping for toast, pancakes, waffles, baked goods and energy bites like the recipe below for Pumpkin Seed Matcha Balls!
Avocado toast is a good idea any time of day. Once called an alligator pear, this fruit is packed with nutrition! Avocados are known for their high content of healthy fat, called monounsaturated fat, which is heart protective and keeps you full for longer. With the healthy fat comes the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, that are crucial for normal functioning of body tissues. Slice avocado on salads, add to power bowls or blend into smoothies for a creamy, delicious texture with nutrition to boot.
I call these green stalks of goodness because they are chock-full of nutrients! You may be noticing asparagus is popping up all over at your grocery store and that’s because fresh asparagus is in season all throughout the spring. Known for its high content of vitamin C, A, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber, asparagus is great for adding to pasta dishes, or to simply grill and eat it with chicken or salmon. It also pairs well with an array of egg dishes, making it the perfect green veggie to add to your upcoming Easter brunch!
I’m sure you’ve heard of this popular green tea powder and seen it’s claim to fame in everything from lattes to ice cream in the past couple of years. Yes, Instagramers love it, but dietitians do too for its many health benefits. Matcha provides an alert calmness from L-theanine and is a great alternative to your second or third cup of coffee for the day. I’m a one cup of joe a day kind of girl, and that’s always in the morning, but on days when I need something in the afternoon I always choose matcha. Sip it straight or add it to recipes like I did in the recipe below!
This recipe for pumpkin seed matcha balls using 88 Acres Pumpkin Seed Butter is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of year because it packs in multiple vitamins and minerals as well as strong antioxidants from the matcha tea. Pop them for breakfast or as an afternoon snack this St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!
- 1 cup 88 Acres Pumpkin Seed Butter
- 1 2/3 cup gluten-free oats
- 2 tablespoons chia, hemp, or flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons green tea matcha powder
- Pinch of salt
*This recipe is delicious as is, but for a more substantial snack feel free to add one scoop of your favorite protein powder.
In a medium-sized bowl combine all ingredients until well mixed. Use a tablespoon to scoop out mixture and roll into balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Contributed to 88 Acres by Maggie Michalczyk, RDN. Maggie is a Chicago-based registered dietitian and voice behind her blog and Instagram @onceuponapumpkin. When she's not cooking or baking up something pumpkin in her kitchen you can catch her enjoying a workout class, drinking kombucha or watching the latest raved about TV show. Maggie specializes in millennial nutrition and translates her knowledge of evidence-based research into messages that she hopes will simplify healthy eating and nutrition for others. She is a trusted expert and is frequently featured in local and national media outlets like Shape, Prevention, and Reader's Digest. In this busy world, Maggie strives to find little moments of stillness and gratitude in each day and truly believes the journey is the destination!