Go Green for the Holidays

Green Smoothie

Certain colors seem to go with certain holidays: pastels for Easter; red, white and blue for July 4th and orange for Halloween. Christmas seems to center around red and green. That can be a key to you when it comes to holiday meal preparation – this year go green for the holidays.

The term greens typically refers to leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and chard. However, lettuce, collards and vegetables like broccoli can also be included under the green umbrella. Most of these are readily available during the holidays and can be used in a variety of imaginative ways. They also offer a pleasing visual contrast to traditional holiday foods like squash and mashed potatoes.

Leafy greens are packed with nutrients like vitamins A, C, K and B, as well as minerals like iron and magnesium. They also offer lots of fiber and fit the definition of nutrient-dense foods, with a low calorie count but plenty of beneficial nutrients. Green vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts are especially high in fiber.

Some green veggies can be eaten raw. Broccoli makes a good crudite with a dip made from cottage cheese, garlic and a few herbs. Lettuce, of course, is a salad natural. Spinach is an either/or green vegetable. Eating raw spinach in a salad occasionally is fine, but it does contain oxalic acid, which affects calcium absorption. Cooking spinach increases the absorption of minerals and vitamins.

Spinach and kale can be included in smoothies (try combining them with a green apple to balance the flavors). Leafy greens like chard and spinach are quick-cooking, while kale usually takes a little longer and is better boiled. In your quest to eat the real foods recommended by the experts at Metabolic Research Center, you really can't go wrong with greens for the holidays.


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