It’s time to skip the green food colouring, green cupcakes and sweets for something a little more natural.
It’s easy being green on St.Patrick’s Day! There is certainly a large variety of green healthy foods you can add into your diet to make your day a little more lucky! The “Go for 2 & 5” public health campaign encourages Australians’ to aim for 2 serves of fruit a day and 5 serves of vegetables. We’re going to share 7 different green foods that you can add to your meals each and everyday to live a healthier life.
But before we do that…. let’s quickly have a look at serving sizes:
A standard serve of vegetables is 75 grams or:
- ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
- ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
- 1 cup leafy or raw salad vegetables
- ½ cup sweet corn
- ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
- 1 medium tomato
A standard serve of fruit is 150 grams of fresh fruit or:
- 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
- 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)
Or only occasionally
- ½ cup (125mL) 100% fruit juice no added sugar
- 30g dried fruit (for example, 4 dried apricot halves, 1½ tablespoons of sultanas)
7 Greens you should add to your weekly meals
Ok, so now we’ve covered off how much fruit and veg you should be eating each day (vegetables… the minimum!), lets have a look at some green foods that you can eat to get your quota! It’s also important to remember greens like spinach, broccoli, peas and beans (that can be chopped up super small), can easily be added to your kids meals – and hopefully they won’t even notice. Make a fun game of it with your kids this St. Patrick’s Day and see who can eat the most healthy green food!
What are edamame exactly? They’re a super easy to eat soy bean – and most of us think of the salted, boiled variety served in Japanese restaurants as a starter. These little guys are loaded with more than 100% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of folate (which is essential for making red blood cells and may prevent DNA damage that could lead to cancer). Eat them just like you would from a Japanese restaurant, or toss the cooked, shelled edamame into your next salad for extra crunch!
Is high in antioxidants and is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K. Spinach also boosts eye health and has strong anti-ageing properties. A recent study found a bowl of spinach every day increases muscle efficiency. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found participants who consumed 300 grams of spinach a day reduced the amount of oxygen required to power their muscles while exercising by five per cent. The effect was noticable after just three days of spinach consumption.
Broccoli is an absolute powerhouse of nutrients. It’s reputed to benefit digestion, the cardiovascular system and the immune system, and to have anti-inflammatory and even cancer-preventing properties. Plus, broccoli is low in sodium and calories, at about 31 calories per serving. It’s also a fat-free vegetable. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium, and copper. Can we go on??
Snow peas (or sugar snap peas)
One of the most notable health benefits of sugar snap peas is they are high in vitamin C. This water-soluble, antioxidant vitamin speeds wound healing, boosts immunity and also aids in the production of collagen.
Cool as a cucumber. You know the saying! Like watermelon, cucumbers are made up of mostly (95 percent) water, which means eating them on a hot summer day can help you stay hydrated. However, there’s reason to eat cucumbers all year long. With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies
Packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange, the bright green flesh of the kiwifruit speckled with tiny black seeds adds a dramatic tropical flair to any fruit salad. Adequate intake of vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, and for preventing conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease.
Not many people may love them, but they are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. They are a very good source of numerous nutrients including folate, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids.
So go on – get more greens in your diet!