Green foods and rainbow foods can be fun and healthy
by Robbie Schneider, Social Media Manager for Franciscan Health
If you think of St. Patrick’s Day food, you often think of corned beef and cabbage, accompanied by a frosty beverage or two.
Or, if you have young kids, it might be some variation of a cereal bar made with Lucky Charms cereal.
You can get lucky with some healthier, kid-friendly foods for St. Patrick’s Day that kids can make themselves, or with help from an adult. If you want St. Patrick’s Day foods that kids will be interested in eating, play off the rainbow idea or go green. Both are for terrific opportunities to get plenty of fruits and vegetables and a large variety of antioxidants.
Recently we returned to the “social media test kitchen” to try our hands at a few St. Patrick’s Day recipes kids can make. Here are some of our successes.
Follow the rainbow
The easiest way to celebrate the rainbow is to check out a rainbow of produce.
- Pink: watermelon, pink grapefruit, tomatoes
- Red: tomatoes, cherries, radishes, bell peppers, rhubarb
- Orange: sweet potatoes, mangoes, peaches, pumpkin
- Yellow: bananas, corn, bell peppers, butternut squash, yellow winter squash
- Green: broccoli, cucumbers, leeks, peas, snow peas, zucchini
- Blue: blueberries or blue potatoes
- Purple: purple berries, grapes, plums, prunes, raisins, currants, eggplants, purple asparagus, cabbage
Package them in a fun way. Places slices of vegetables in a cup with some ranch dressing in the bottom.
You can even slurp a smoothie. Smoothies can be made with virtually any color in the rainbow, or enjoy this dairy-free Pot of Gold Smoothie:
Pot of Gold St. Patrick’s Day smoothie
My young chefs enjoyed this bright, nearly golden beverage, declaring this smoothie “pretty good” and “not overly sweet.”
- 1 large banana
- 1 cup orange or apple juice
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
Blend until smooth. Add ice to thicken.
Often times, we remember “Green Eggs and Ham” from kindergarten, when anyone refers to green food. But you can bypass the food coloring and take advantage of naturally occurring green foods to share the luck of the Irish at mealtime.
Green Fruit Salad
- Green pears
- Golden delicious apples
- Green grapes
- Kiwi fruit
Dice fruits to create an an all-green fruit salad. Older kids might enjoy cutting the kiwis into four-leaf clover shapes.
Check out this idea from Creatively Homemade: Use spinach tortillas for a St. Patrick’s Day twist on quesadillas. While we made a cheese quesadilla, you can add meats or add a touch of green using green onion or diced green pepper.
- 2 spinach tortillas
- Shredded cheese
- Optional: cooked chicken, diced green veggies, etc
Cut your tortillas into shamrock shapes by hand or use a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter. Assemble your quesadilla. Sprinkle bottom layer with shredded cheese and add toppings of choice. Top the quesadilla with a second shamrock.
Microwave for about one minute. For a crispier version, bake in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees.
Green Smoothie Waffles
We tried this recipe for “green smoothie” waffles adapted from Recipe Girl. This was the most unique recipe of the group for us. While my family loves smoothies, we’ve never ventured into the green smoothie arena.
Despite the strong green color, you don’t taste the spinach in this waffle recipe. Interestingly enough, my picky eater loved eating the green waffle, but my adventurous eater was less impressed.
- 1 3/4 cups almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- One 5-oz container Greek nonfat plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Make sure you wash and dry your spinach. A salad spinner is helpful for this.
Preheat your waffle iron.
Blend milk, spinach, yogurt, and eggs until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until fully mixed.
Pour the batter (about 1/2 cup) into your waffle iron. Close the lid and cook until the waffle is done.
With these tips and recipes, you too can inject a little St. Patty’s Day fun into your family’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacktime.