March 1, 2023

Gimme the Green Goodies this St. Patrick’s Day

By Nina Struss RDN, LDN
Hy-Vee Registered Dietician
(515) 695-3779

Don’t get pinched this St. Patrick’s Day by stocking your lunchbox full of delicious green goodies! From fruits to vegetables to tea and even some great flavor enhancers – Hy-Vee dietitians are ready to share their favorite green picks just in time for the holiday.

While eating a rainbow of colors for fruits and vegetables is ideal, there are some great reasons to incorporate more green foods into your diet on a daily basis. Many green produce picks include various nutrients like vitamins C, K and A as well as antioxidants to help fight free radicals in the body.

Not sure which green foods to go for first? Check out these top five favorites to add to your shopping list this week:

1. Avocado – Avocados contain both monounsaturated (omega-9) and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3), which are helpful for heart health and increasing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. 95% of Americans, and 80% of people worldwide, are not getting enough EPA and DHA omega-3s. While avocados provide mostly monounsaturated fats, they do provide some omega-3 fat benefits as well. Try smashed avocado on a piece of whole-grain toast topped with a sliced hard-boiled egg and a side of fruit for an easy, heart-healthy breakfast.

2. Green Bell Pepper – Bell peppers are high in vitamin C which can help support our immune system. With a slightly bitter taste than other colored peppers, green bell peppers are best when cooked. Try adding sautéed chopped peppers to a stir-fry or omelet for an easy boost of nutrition.

3. Kiwi – Kiwi is also high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and potassium. Fiber helps keep us full longer while potassium is essential for many functions in our body, especially for proper kidney and heart health. Did you know the skin on a kiwi is edible? Wash kiwi and cut into slices and try it with the skin on for a fiber-filled snack.

4. Spinach – Spinach is a nutrition powerhouse home to many vitamins and minerals. Spinach is a good source of iron and vitamin C, which work well together to make sure iron is properly absorbed in the body. Spinach is also high in vitamin K which is essential for normal blood clotting. All forms of spinach (fresh, frozen and canned) can easily be added to a meal for a nutritious kick. Try adding fresh spinach to salads, eggs, pasta, sandwiches – the options are endless! Not a fan of cooked spinach? Add a handful to your next smoothie for a veggie-filled start to your day.

5. Green Tea – Green tea contains polyphenols, which are compounds known for their antioxidant roperties. Antioxidants may help the body fight off damage caused by free radicals. Start your day with a caffeine boost from a cup of green tea. Want to be more adventurous? Try matcha – the green tea powder made from the whole leaves of a tea plant. You can enjoy matcha by the glass or even cook or bake with it!

Eating more fruits and vegetables may add a financial burden to your household. If you’re looking to save more green (money), consider these tips:

  • Save money and avoid the stress of picking the perfectly ripe avocado by purchasing frozen diced avocado and adding into your favorite breakfast smoothie.
  • Look for your green vegetables in the frozen section for a quick side dish that won’t spoil before you have a chance to enjoy it!
  • Look for the green No Salt Added label when purchasing canned green vegetables to help lower your sodium intake and still meet the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

Aiming to eat more fruits and vegetables from an array of colors in your day can be a challenge. Our team of dietitians are here to help increase your intake of fruits and vegetables through our 5-A-Day Challenge! To learn more about this FREE 7-day challenge and prizes, visit Thank you to our generous sponsors: Bushel Boy, Mission Avocados, Josie’s Organics, and Rainier Envy Apples.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Nina Struss represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association). She can be reached at (515) 695-3779 or at

Filed Under: Health & Wellness

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