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Going green for St. Patricks Day
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Green fruits and vegetables contain many health-promoting phytochemicals including lutein and indoles. They help protect against certain cancers and help maintain vision, and strong bones and teeth.

Green fruits and vegetables include leafy greens, asparagus, green peppers, broccoli, green beans, peas, cabbage, green onion, Brussels sprouts, okra, zucchini, Chinese cabbage, green apples, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit and limes.

Some green ideas for St. Patrick's Day (or any day) include:

n Tossed lettuce salad. For even more nutritional value go for the dark greens such as spinach or romaine. Add extra green with green peppers if you like.

n Include some kiwi fruit, green grapes and/or honeydew melon in your fruit salad.

n Add avocado slices to salads and sandwiches. To maintain avocados' green color, eat them immediately or sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice. Though 2 tablespoons of avocado have about 5 grams of fat, it's mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

n Enjoy your favorite veggie dip in combination with broccoli florets or a favorite fruit dip with green apple slices.

n Vegetable pizza with green onions, green peppers, asparagus and broccoli.

n Serve thinly sliced green onions over rice, pasta dishes, broiled or baked fish and soups - you're limited only by your imagination. Spinach noodles with a topping of sautéed zucchini or asparagus in olive oil with minced garlic.

n Spinach soufflé

n Omelet with sautéed spinach, asparagus and/or green pepper

n Cream of broccoli or spinach soup

n Fruit pizza with kiwi, green apples and green grapes

n Cabbage casserole

n Homemade guacamole with avocadoes, lime juice, green onions, minced garlic and tomatoes.

n Sautéed spinach with olive oil, garlic and toasted pecans or walnuts.

n Pesto made with basil leaves or to save money make it with cilantro. Last night I made a delicious Thai pesto with fresh green cilantro, olive oil, crushed red pepper, minced fresh ginger, garlic, lime juice and honey.

n Chicken Florentine

n Stir fry vegetables with a green curry sauce

n Broccoli salad

n Honeydew melon fruit smoothie

n Steamed green beans with green onions and toasted walnuts

n Braised celery with herbs

n Coleslaw with Granny Smith apples

n Frozen green grapes for a quick snack

n Cucumber salad

n Kiwi fruit tart

n Steamed artichokes

n Corned beef with cabbage is a natural for St. Patrick's Day.

Hopefully this list got you to thinking about the many wonderful tasting and nutritious green fruits and vegetables that can be a part of your daily diet.

Sources: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County; Produce for Better Health Foundation

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.