Christina Regon and I gave a nutrition workshop at Faulkner Hospital last week about top kitchen gadgets for a healthy kitchen. Some of the gadgets were new; others weren't and probably were items many people already have but for which we provided suggestions on new ways of using. We wanted to focus on helping people meet the MyPlate.gov guidelines of making half your plate fruits and vegetables. Christina introduced the salad spinner as a handy tool to prep all kinds of greens, not just lettuces in salad. One important tip we stressed is to wash and prepare greens as soon as you buy them. Because they spoil quickly, this increases your chances of using and eating them up while their nutrient content is still high. Here's a quick video of Christina prepping Swiss chard, which can then be sauteed in oil and eaten immediately, or stored in plastic Ziploc bags to be used later in sandwiches, soups, casseroles and anything else you can think of!
I also shared a "green" smoothie recipe that, no kidding, I've been drinking every day since I first tested it. It does taste great and motivates me that I can drink a whole cup of spinach without really noticing! Spinach is rich in nutrients like calcium and folic acid, and is a great plant source of iron. However the oxalic acids in spinach can bind to iron and keep it from being absorbed, so eat spinach with iron absorption “enhancers,” like foods rich in vitamin C. Enjoy the recipe below to reap all the nutritional benefits from spinach. The green color is the only hint; the citrus from the fruit juice hides the taste of the spinach. Use baby spinach instead of regular as it has a milder flavor. I also added some vanilla whey protein to make the shake a little frothier and sweeter. Monday March 26 is National Spinach Day, so why not whip this up and toast to your good health!Spinach Fruit Smoothie
1 cup (8 ounces) calcium-fortified orange juice
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (any flavor)
Half a large banana
4 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup baby spinach
2-3 ice cubes
Half scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
Directions: Wash the strawberries and baby spinach. Place all ingredients into a blender and mix well. Pour into a tall glass and let rest for one minute before serving.
Nutrition info per shake with whey protein: 286 calories, 1 g fat, 18 g protein, 4 g fiber, 1120 mg potassium, 85 mg sodium, 233% vitamin C, 46% calcium, 7% iron