Healthy ‘green’ recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

During the month of March, people are invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Celebrating flavors from other cultures is one way to nourish our bodies and appreciate our diversity. Everyone is unique with different goals, backgrounds and tastes. Seeing a registered dietitian nutritionist can help people learn how to create healthy habits that celebrate their heritage and introduce them to new foods and flavors.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service, dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of nutrition. Salad greens, kale and spinach are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, and broccoli, bok choy and mustard also are rich in many of the B vitamins.

These vegetables also contain an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants that protect cells and play roles in blocking the early stages of cancer. They also contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol.

One of the most appealing benefits of dark green leafy vegetables is their low calorie and carbohydrate contents and their low glycemic index. These features make them an ideal food to facilitate achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, as stated on the website.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends increasing average intakes of fruits and vegetables, particularly those that provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber. Dark leafy greens fulfill this need. Many varieties of greens are available in the American markets. The most popular are collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, spinach and kale.

Eating dark green leafy vegetables is vital to a healthy, balanced diet. There are many ways to enjoy a meal with leafy greens, and March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, which leads to an opportunity of making some “green” recipes with a healthy twist.

Green Chili Recipe with Chicken

Submitted by Briley Hackman, Schneck Nutrition Services intern

Makes 6 servings


1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 red onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. cumin

½ tsp. each salt and pepper

1 lb. chicken breasts

4 oz. can green chilies

16 oz. jar salsa verde

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups canned navy beans, rinsed and drained

½ lime, juiced plus more for taste (optional)

1 tsp. lime zest


Stovetop instructions

Add olive oil to a large pot over med-high heat. Add onion, sauteeing for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Add in green pepper and anaheim pepper, sauteeing another 2 minutes until softened.

Toss in garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, sauteeing for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well and bringing to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Remove chicken breasts and shred, then stir back into chili. Serve in large bowls.

Slow cooker instructions:

Add all ingredients except for toppings to the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or on low for eight hours.

Remove chicken breasts and shred, then stir back into chili. Serve in large bowls.

Instant pot instructions:

Add all ingredients except for toppings to the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure and then remove lid once the pressure gauge has dropped.

Remove chicken breasts and shred, then stir back into chili.

Serve in large bowls with any of these toppings: Avocado, jalapenos, cilantro, lime wedges and/or sour cream.


Healthier take on the Shamrock Shake

Submitted by Jill Whitaker, a Schneck clinical dietitian

The Green Machine Smoothie


½ cup cold water

1 medium banana frozen and cut or broken into a few pieces

1 cup pineapple chunks canned (in its own juice)

¼ cup pineapple juice (use the juice from the canned pineapple)

1 cup packed fresh baby spinach


1. Put all ingredients in a high-powered blender in the order they are listed.

2. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.