Good news about green food just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C and provide calcium, iron, fiber, phytochemicals and other important nutrients.

While it’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for overall health, research shows that fruits and vegetables with green pigment contain powerful antioxidants that protect against certain cancers and heart disease. Other studies have found that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, and green leafy vegetables, like spinach, may reduce the risk of stroke.

Produce departments offer a variety of green fruits and vegetables, including avocados, asparagus, broccoli, celery, green beans, cabbage, leafy greens, lettuce, cucumbers, peas, honeydew melon, green apples, green peppers and spinach.


Green foods galore

Add some green to your diet with one of these simple ideas:

• Try some fresh spinach in your salad.

• Stir-fry asparagus or broccoli with garlic and sesame oil for a flavorful side dish.

• Sauté some spinach, kale and collards and use them in omelets and quiches.

• Turn your tossed salad into a festive green dish by adding green peppers, celery, cucumbers and honeydew melon.

• Serve corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day.

• Add frozen green beans or peas to instant or homemade soups.

• Make a vegetable pizza with green peppers and broccoli.

• Enjoy the hearty minestrone soup below.


Easy spinach minestrone

All you need

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups chicken broth

1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

All you do

1. In a medium saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until tender.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, carrots and macaroni.

3. Cook until vegetables and macaroni are tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Stir in spinach; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


-- Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at .