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Tiny Tummy Tips, Issue #26- Get Your Greens On: How and Why to Eat Your Way to a Shamrockin' St. Pat
March 16, 2023
St Patty's Day Issue
Tiny Tummy Tips, Issue #027 -- Get Your Greens On: How and Why to Eat Your Way to a Shamrockin' St. Patrick's Day!
In This Issue1) Mighty Mitochondria
2) Top 5 Best Green Foods and How to Add Them to Your Diet
Top O’ the Marnin’ to Ya!! St Patty’s Day is upon us, so it’s a good time to start thinking GREEN…and not just for a one-day celebration. Here’s why…
Your Mighty MitochondriaEver wonder why some people seem to have great endurance (mental or physical) while others fatigue so quickly? Have you ever wondered what’s happening in your own body when your energy levels and/or ability to focus change from day to day?
Well, don't blame it on genetics or sheer luck. It all comes down to your mighty mitochondria.
Your body is made up of 50-75 TRILLION cells, and within each and every cell are little organelles called mitochondria. Referred to as the “powerhouses of the cell,” the mitochondria are like Energizer bunnies, tirelessly producing energy for you day in and day out.
But just like any hardworking employee, they need the right nutrients to perform at their best. And if they don't get what they need, their efficiency will suffer…which means your energy level will suffer.
If you want to keep those mitochondria working properly, start eating green foods…and never stop!
Now, I know what you're thinking - "Eat something green every day? No thanks, I'd rather munch on beige chips.” Well I would too…but trust me, your mitochondria will thank you.
See, those little energy factories need a specific chemical structure- namely porphyrin rings- to produce energy and detoxify your body. And guess what? Chlorophyll, the green pigment in leafy greens and green vegetables, has those rings in spades!
If the chemistry makes your head spin, all you really need to remember is that green foods are necessary for your body to make you energy. So you need to eat something green AT LEAST once a day.
And the green clover marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal don’t count! ;)
Top 5 Best Green Foods
SpinachNutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
How to Eat It:
Try incorporating some nutrient-packed spinach into your breakfast routine! For a quick and easy option, whip up a refreshing green smoothie using spinach as the base. Alternatively, you can add some fresh spinach to your omelet for a flavorful twist.
If you or your loved ones are picky eaters, no worries! Just toss a handful of chopped spinach into a casserole or sandwich for a change instead of lettuce.
And if you're looking to switch up your salad routine, consider using spinach leaves instead of lettuce (or mix in 50% spinach) for a satisfying crunch and an extra boost of nutrients.
KaleNutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and protein.
How to Eat It:
I've got some tips on how to make it taste less bitter and actually enjoyable. Read on…
First up, if you're dealing with the tough and curly variety, chop it up and toss it into soups, stews, and casseroles. Cooking it up will tame that bitter taste faster than you can say kale, kale, kale.
If you're working with baby kale or lacinato kale (fancy, I know), try a chopped kale salad. But don't forget to add some sweetness to the mix! Throw in some juicy apples or a few plump raisins to balance out that bitter bite.
And if you're really feeling adventurous, give your kale a nice little massage before adding it to your salad. That's right, you heard me! A little rub-down can actually soften up the kale and make it less bitter. Who knew kale could benefit from a spa day?
And if you’re REALLY feeling adventurous, add a leaf or two of kale to your AM green smoothie!
Collard Greens/Mustard GreensNutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, riboflavin, folate, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and zinc.
How to Eat Them:
Ah, collard greens and mustard greens - classic Southern veggies that have been drenched in butter and bacon grease for ages. Sure, it tastes amazing, but let's be real, it's not exactly the healthiest option out there.
So, how do you turn this old-school dish into a healthy and tasty treat? Well, you could sauté those collards or mustard greens in a little olive oil, throw in some diced onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick (if that's your thing), and a tiny sprinkle of salt for good measure.
But if you're dealing with some particularly bitter collards/mustard greens, it's time to bring out the big guns. That's right, it's time to braise those babies in some vegetable broth until they're soft and tender.
And if you're worried about that bitter taste lingering on your tongue, just add a PINCH of sugar at the end to balance it all out. Who knew making healthy greens could be so easy and delicious?
If you don't feel like heating up the stove, and you're REALLY feeling adventurous, add a leaf or two of mustard greens to your AM green smoothie! It’s MY personal fav…I think mustard greens taste zingy and I love the zip they add to my green drink.
Swiss ChardNutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
How to Eat It:
Sauté in a little olive oil with some onions, garlic, and a pinch of lemon zest. And whatever you do, don't even think about squeezing lemon juice on there, unless you want your greens to look like they're ready for the compost pile.
You can also throw Swiss chard into a pot of soup at the very end for a pop of color and flavor.
And again, if you’re feeling adventurous, add 1 leaf of Swiss chard to your AM green smoothie!
Bok ChoyNutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
How to Eat It:
It's time to take your stir fry game to the next level with some chopped bok choy, ginger, and sliced mushrooms. And don't forget to add low-sodium soy sauce for that delicious savory flavor.
But wait, there's more! If you're feeling wild and want to get your taste buds dancing to an Asian beat, try adding some chopped bok choy to a build-your-own bowl with seared tofu or chicken, cauliflower rice, and a ginger dressing. And for that perfect finishing touch, sprinkle on some scallions and sesame seeds, and you've got yourself a meal fit for an emperor.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, add a leaf of Bok Choy to your AM green smoothie!...See the theme here?!
The Bottom LineSt Patrick’s Day is a fun day that’s all about everything green…But EVERY DAY should be all about EATING SOMETHING GREEN at least once a day to boost your energy.
Don’t believe me? Try it and see. Get back to me with the results :)
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See you in the next issue!
Suzette Kroll, RDN
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