It’s Easy to Eat Green St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the death of Ireland’s patron saint by wearing, eating and drinking all things green.

To keep the holiday healthy, break away from tradition this year and forgo that salty, fatty corned beef and caloric beer by considering dishes that include a variety of green vegetables.

Including green vegetables in your diet can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases and make up an overall healthy diet. The USDA recommends that adults get at least 2½ cups of vegetables each day.

Leafy green vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals. In particular, spinach is rich in calcium, vitamin K, folic acid and iron, and it helps prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and colon cancer.

There are many other great green vegetables that you can enjoy, such as celery, cucumbers, green bell peppers, peas, asparagus, string beans, broccoli, kale, collard greens and cabbage, a popular St. Patrick’s Day side dish!

Remember, variety is key to reap the benefits of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, plant-based nutrients that protect our body from diseases.

Our Memorial Health dietitians recommend this Baked Stuffed Onion with Spinach Feta for a rich, green meal.

Baked Stuffed Onions with Spinach Feta

2 large sweet or Spanish onions (about 1½ pounds total, peeled)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or chopped
One (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the onions in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the onions are partially tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and cool; cut the onions in half crosswise. Scoop out the center of each onion half, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Reserve the centers. If necessary, cut a small piece from the end of each onion shell so they will stand upright.

Prepare a shallow baking dish with non-stick pan spray. Place the onions in the prepared dish, hollowed sides up.

Chop the reserved centers of the onions. Sauté in oil with the garlic in a medium saucepan until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, lemon juice and pepper; cook until the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat; stir in the bread crumbs and cheese.

Fill the onion shells with the spinach mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake approximately 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Yields: 4 servings. Each serving provides 106 calories, 3.7 g fat, 1.7 g saturated fat, 14.9 g carbohydrates, 3.3 g fiber, 4.8 g protein, 193 mg sodium.