Show Us Your Green!

Author: Rosetta Danigole, UMC Lead Clinical Dietitian, Nutritional Services

Green is everyone’s favorite color on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re looking to liven up your party or dinner table, you’re in luck.  Nature has a bounty of options that don’t require food coloring.

Here are a few St. Paddy’s favorites from the UMC Nutrition team:

Brussels sprouts – These are packed with vitamins A and C as well as birth-defect fighting folate and blood pressure-balancing potassium. Not into Brussels sprouts or kale? Consider such other cruciferous veggies as broccoli, arugula, and bok choy.

Kale – A member of the powerhouse family of greens known as cruciferous veggies (a fancy word for the cabbage family), kale has bone-boosting vitamin K, vision- and immune-boosting vitamin A, and even anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Asparagus – This springtime vegetable is rich in vitamins K, C, A, and folate. It also has a number of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Asparagus is also famous for a healthy dose of inulin — a “prebiotic” that promotes digestive health.

Edamame – These soybeans are a longtime Japanese diet staple. A complete plant-based protein, edamame is a good protein source for vegetarian and vegan diets. When eaten in place of fatty meat, soy may lower cholesterol by reducing saturated fat intake

Green Beans – Also called string beans, green beans are a common side dish in Southern cooking. They’re loaded with fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, making them an excellent choice for people with diabetes.

Try these healthful green recipes:

Luck of the Irish Green Smoothie

This smoothie is full of iron, potassium and vitamins and taste like a yummy treat.

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh spinach

1 cup almond milk/coconut milk- low sugar

½ cup pineapple

½ cup mango- optional

1 banana

 

Instructions:

  1. Tightly pack spinach in a measuring cup.
  2. Add spinach to blender with milk alternative.  Blend together until all chunks are gone.
  3. Add pineapple, mango and banana.
  4. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
  5. Serve cold with ice if desired.

 

Calories: 202

Sodium: 30 milligrams (very low)

Carbohydrate: 51 grams—all from natural sources—fruits and vegetables

Fiber: 6 grams

Protein: 3 grams

 

Collard Greens  

Collard greens not only taste good, they supply a good dose of fiber, calcium, protein and iron. To keep this Southern staple healthy, keep the sodium low and skip the meat.

Number of Servings: 8
Serving Size:  1 cup

 

Ingredients:

4 lb collard greens

3 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth

2 chopped onions

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Wash and cut the collard greens and place them in a large stockpot. Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to cover.
  2. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 1/2 hours. The flavors will blend even more if you let the greens sit for a bit after cooking.

Feast Your Eye On This: A Thanksgiving Menu You Won’t Regret

Author: Rosetta Danigole, UMC Lead Clinical Dietitian – Nutritional Services

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Thanksgiving is almost here.  It’s time to feast and spend time with family.  But while Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season brings joy to many, it can also be the cause of food anxiety.

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Take a deep breath – traditional seasonal fare also offers plenty of good opportunities for healthy eating.

The fall season offers so many nutrient packed foods that can nourish not only your body but your spirit. Listed below are some dietitian approved tips for avoiding overindulging and taking the worry out of those holiday meals.

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Remember always that healthy eating is a lifestyle. Moderation is the key to staying on your healthy eating path through the holidays.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare tomorrow’s feast or sit down to enjoy.

Make it healthy:

  • Choose seasonal foods. Roasted fall vegetables add a festive touch to the table. Think about sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips.  It’s a simple dish but these roasted vegetables combined with olive oil and low sodium herbs can be a good start to a healthy meal.
  • Add winter squash to your holiday table. Roasted, baked or steamed, winter squash makes a delicious and nutritious side dish.  Add your favorite spices such as nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon for a healthy alternative.
  • Make the cranberries a hit. Cranberries contain powerful anti-agers. Try to find either fresh or low sugar canned instead.
  • Prepare a guilt-free dessert. Baked, poached or roasted fall fruits are a great alternative to sugary pies and other sweets. Try apples and pears and even apricots, peaches and plums sprinkled with holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

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Enjoy it!

  • Start with nuts. Instead of munching your way through the sour-cream dip before dinner, pick the walnuts out of the nut bowl. Eating 12 halves 30 minutes before a meal will convince your brain you’re not all that hungry.)
  • Practice the flip. Try this tip –it’s called flipping” your meal: Make the side dishes the main choices along with your white-meat turkey. Make the higher calorie choices a small side dish. When everyone else is waddling out, you’ll be feeling great.
  • Find a healthy balance. Try to balance your plate with lean proteins, heart healthy whole grains and veggies. If those options aren’t available, just remember to pace yourself.
  • Eat some of everything. Yes, including the pumpkin pie.  Just be mindful of portion sizes. To be sure you are getting the right portion size, use your hands. For the average woman, the palm of your hand is two to three ounces – your thumb is equal to one teaspoon. Take less and savor it more. You’ll end up feeling better after.
  • Dig in to the turkey. Turkey breast is super lean: just 44 calories, 1 gram of fat and no saturated fat per skinless ounce.
  • Don’t reach for seconds right away. Still hungry after your first serving? Wait 20 minutes, have a glass of water, and check in with your body before going for seconds.
  • Stay hydrated. Add sparkling seltzer water to cranberry or pomegranate juice for a festive, low-calorie drink (and it’s alcohol free, if so desired). Pomegranate juice is loaded with anti-oxidants and helps fight inflammation.

As you navigate the rest of the holiday season, remember that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in alcohol; lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.

For a list of healthy New Orleans-style Thanksgiving recipes, download our free recipe book.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all!