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Health & Medical

Dress your plate green for St. Patrick’s Day

Cabbage will add a little color to many plates on March 17. This year, challenge yourself to add as many green, nutrient-rich foods to your diet as possible.

Celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday by wearing and eating green. Commonly eaten green items include broccoli, green beans, lettuce and green grapes. Now is the time to expand your grocery selection and include more nutrient-packed green food items such as kale, spinach, zucchini, avocado, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, and green tea. If you are a creative eater, add a few drops of green food coloring to your plain-colored foods such as yogurt, milk, oatmeal, cream cheese or scrambled eggs. Your children will love this.

Question for discussion: A co-worker and I were brainstorming to see if we could come up with any green foods that are not healthy for you. Please email me at if you have an answer.

Spinach dip

(Makes 16 servings)

1 package light cream cheese, softened

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 envelope (1 ounce) dry ranch dressing mix

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained

1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained, chopped

½ cup chopped red peppers

Mix cream cheese spread, yogurt, and dressing mix in medium-size bowl until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Serve with assorted cut-up vegetables or whole-grain crackers.

Nutrition information per serving: 92 calories, 5.4 g fat, 7.8 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g protein

Protein shamrock shake

(Makes 1 serving)

½ cup low-fat cottage cheese (or vanilla yogurt)

1 scoop vanilla or plain protein powder

1/8 teaspoon mint extract (or to taste)

1 to 2 packets Splenda or sweetener of choice (if desired)

5 to 10 ice cubes (more or less depending on how thick you like it)

4 to 6 ounces water (alter according to desired thickness)

A few drops of green food coloring, or a handful of spinach to make it green

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar-free instant pistachio pudding mix (optional)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency. Top with light Cool Whip or whipped cream if desired.

Nutrition information: 180 calories, 5 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 30 g protein

Quinoa stuffed roasted green peppers

(Makes 2 servings)


½ tablespoon olive oil

1 cup frozen edamame, thawed

5 white mushrooms, sliced

1 roma tomato, diced

1 cup fresh spinach

2 whole green bell peppers

1 tablespoon teriyaki stir-fry sauce (or more if desired)

½ cup uncooked quinoa

1/3 cup water 


Cook quinoa according to package directions, and set aside in a medium-sized bowl. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add edamame, mushrooms and tomato, stirring until cooked, roughly 5 to 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Add the stir-fry sauce and cook until coated. Remove from heat and mix with quinoa. Set aside and let the filling cool until just warm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tops off the peppers, and then core and seed them. Stuff each pepper with the filling, packing it down until each pepper is filled to the top. Place the peppers in a baking dish and replace the tops. Add the water to the bottom of the dish. Cover everything with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the peppers are soft and juicy. Remove peppers from baking dish and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 436 calories, 15 g fat, 57 g carbohydrate, 27 g protein, 16 g fiber.

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