Go green and go healthy on St. Patrick’s Day

Go green and go healthy by eating green fruits and vegetables, and using food safety practices.

Michigan State University Extension encourages you to Go Green and go healthy on St. Patrick’s Day and throughout the year.

Green fruits and vegetables contain many health-promoting phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. Some phytochemicals are responsible for color and scent, like the deep purple of blueberries and the smell of garlic. The term phytochemical is generally used to refer to those chemicals that have health significance but are not established as essential nutrients.

Kiwi, broccoli, avocados, green grapes, honeydew melons, Brussels sprouts, green beans, green cabbage, leafy greens, lettuce, peas, green pepper and spinach are just a few green fruits and vegetables, to name.

Some “green” ideas and food safety tips for St. Patrick’s Day, or any day, include:

  • The all-time original for St. Patty’s Day is corned beef with cabbage. Cook corned beef until the internal temperature has reached at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit as measured with a food thermometer before removing the meat from the heat source. Fork-tender is a good indication of the corned beef being done, but use a food thermometer to be sure. Corned beef may still be pink in color after cooking. This does not mean it is not done. Nitrite is used in the curing process. This fixes pigment in the meat and affects the color.
  • Make a vegetable pizza with extra green vegetables. Always rinse fresh fruits and vegetables before using them, and if they are firm enough, use a vegetable brush too.
  • Eat a tossed lettuce salad. Add extra green with green peppers – and always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before working with food.
  • Include some kiwi fruit in your fruit salad. Rinse the outside of all fruits, even those like kiwi where you peel the skin before adding it to the salad.
  • Throw some frozen peas into a soup. Freezers should be zero degree.
  • Make extra chicken one day and use it the next day in a soup with fresh, frozen or canned veggies. Cook chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook soup with previously cooked meat, like the chicken, also to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add avocado slices to salads and sandwiches. To maintain avocados’ green color, eat them immediately or sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice. Though two tablespoons of avocado have about five grams of fat, it’s mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Did you know that if you leave the pit in your guacamole, it will stay a healthy looking green?
  • Enjoy your low-fat, low calorie favorite dip in combination of broccoli florets and other vegetables. Once vegetables are cut they need to be refrigerated. Your refrigerator should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

So think green on St. Patrick’s Day, and all through the year. More fun green foods to consider: Spinach noodles, spinach soufflé or quiche, asparagus and/or green pepper omelets with parsley garnish, broccoli or spinach soups, finely diced spinach in any chicken noodle or rice soups, slices of kiwi with a piece of angel food cake or green eggs and ham!

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