The eatin’ of the green

St. Patrick’s Day is observed in many different ways — as long as it involves the color green. Although kids might prefer to gobble green shamrock-shaped cookies instead of kohlrabi, we can give them some healthy choices that may inspire them to continue this happy tradition.

Vegetables come to mind first, but let’s ease into the green scene by exploring what’s available in the fruit aisle. Green apples and grapes are plentiful, but what else? There’s our fuzzy friend the kiwi, fiber-packed green pears, sweet honeydew melon, lovely limes and avocado — which is treated as a vegetable but technically is a fruit.

Start with breakfast

Cut up an array of crunchy tart Granny Smith apples, slice some kiwi rounds and quarter a handful of grapes, then squeeze lime on top, add a touch of chopped mint, drizzle a bit of honey in and around the mixture and you have a vitamin-packed St. Patrick’s Day fruit salad to begin the day.

On to the vegetables!

Our list of green vegetables could go on and on: Artichoke, arugula, asparagus, bitterleaf, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, chard, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, cucumbers — you get the picture.

Think of ways to make veggies fun. There’s the tried and true “ants on a log.” Cut a celery stalk into three or four pieces and spread with peanut butter, then top with raisins, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, granola or other healthy treats.

 

Conjure up a little creativity by cutting up raw vegetables and having your kids help design a flower, creature or whatever they can imagine.

Veggie flowers

To make a flower, cut up a dozen rounds of cucumber for the petals, use a long celery stalk for the stem, spinach leaves for the flower leaves and a cherry tomato placed in the center of the cucumbers for the middle of the flower. Add carrots and radishes to make other beautiful buds.

Veggie bugs

Instead of bugging your kids to eat their vegetables, create a bug they’ll want to eat. Slice a green sweet pepper in half, remove the seeds and place cut side down on the plate. Slice a tomato in half for the head, cut celery stalks for the antenna and carrots for the legs. Slices of radish and raisins can be used for the eyes.

Serve with ranch dip or your child’s favorite dunking sauce; or make your own dip by using broccoli, chopped up chard or any other leafy green vegetable and then mix with plain yogurt. Spice it up with cinnamon, ginger or a bit of honey, and enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 


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