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Going green beyond St. Patrick’s Day

March 9, 2017
Cara Chase , MOV Parent

With March comes the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, and many classrooms celebrations and activities involve sugar-laden and artificially green treats. This year, use St. Patrick's Day as a chance to explore some new green fruits and veggies with your young ones, using the natural green punch in produce to color up your foods. The vibrant green color of these foods is packed with vitamins A and C to keep vision keen and immune systems functioning at their best. Many green leafy vegetables can also serve as a good source of iron!

Naturally Green Recipes and Ingredients:

Think outside the box of broccoli and green beans and give artichokes, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, or okra a try! Don't be discouraged if green vegetables are first pushed away with dislike, it can take upwards of 15 times of trying a food for it to be enjoyed or accepted!

Go for green fruits like granny smith apples, cucumbers, kiwi, avocado, green grapes or honeydew.

Garnish entree's with greens like parsley, dill or cilantro to spruce up plates and embrace the festivity.

Keep it simple by adding leafy greens like spinach or kale to any smoothie recipe for an added serving of veggies and pop of green color!

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss' green eggs? Try adding spinach, green peppers or pesto to make eggs green, instead of food dye.

Looking for a sweet treat? Try adding 3 cups of frozen spinach to vanilla cake or a cupcake recipe! You can even take it one step further and garnish them with fresh mint leaves!

Edamame Hummus

This easy edamame hummus recipe is a great dish to take to classroom celebrations or to enjoy at home. It can be enjoyed alone as a dip or as a spread in veggie filled wraps or sandwiches. This can be a hit with finger-food loving kids let them pick which veggies or whole grain foods they want to grab and dip with. Try whole grain crackers, pita chips, or any veggie sliced into sticks.


1 cup cooked edamame

1/4 cup tahini

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons your choice of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and basil work well)

2 tablespoons olive oil (you may add more oil to create a creamier hummus)

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients except the oil into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Gradually add in the olive oil, mixing in-between each addition until desired texture is achieved.

Let your green thumb shine!

Perhaps you've got your green outfits all ready for a pinch-free holiday, but where else can you incorporate some green? Try getting your green on all month-long to not only celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but to welcome the arrival of Spring.

Try a kid-friendly planting activity: Upside Down Tomato Plants

Recycle plastic gallon sized jugs to grow a tomato plant.


1 gallon sized jug



Potting soil

Tomato start

Carefully cut the bottoms off of the jugs. Then, create a hole in each of the four sides (about an inch down from the now-removed bottom) to thread twine through in order to hang your plant. Make sure there are four loops of equal length so the weight is evenly distributed. Next, slip the tomato start through the mouth of the water jug including the leaves. Fill the rest of the jug with potting soil, hang the plant and water well!

Ensure plants stay well-watered, this is a great chance to allow kids the responsibility to care for the plant by ensuring it stays watered. Enjoy your homegrown juicy tomatoes. This project can be transferred to the garden after becoming too large for the planter.

Or keep it simple and try planting your own leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, or herbs which can easily be planted in a small container and placed in a moderate sun area of your home.

Cara Chase is a Children's Hunger Alliance Dietetic Intern from The Ohio State University.



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