It’s easy incorporating green

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Be sure to include the color GREEN on your dinner plate! Leafy green vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber but low in calories. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline. Green vegetables contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol. The dark greens supply a significant amount of folate, a B vitamin that promotes heart health and helps prevent certain birth defects. Dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of carotenoids. These vegetables also contain vitamins C and K and the minerals iron and calcium. In addition, dark green leafy vegetables act as antioxidants in the body. Vitamin K found in leafy greens is associated with numerous health benefits including maintaining healthy blood vessels, lessening the risk of heart problems, and preventing bone loss with aging. Recent studies have also found vitamin K may promote eye health and reduce incidence of age-related dementia. To boost your daily nutrition, aim to eat about 2 cups of dark, leafy greens every day. Two cups of raw greens is equal to 1 cup of cooked vegetables, and 2.5 cups is recommended daily for a 2000-calorie diet.  Here are three delicious recipes for you to enjoy with your family!

Cabbage Stir Fry

(Photo submitted by Louise Hinsley)

This recipe is extremely easy to prepare and makes a great side dish. If you like spice, add a Thai green chili or jalapeño.  

Serves 2, Serving Size: ¾ cup, Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes, Total Time: 20 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, 2 Thai green chilies or jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (optional), 2 cups shredded green cabbage, ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin and grated ginger and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the Thai green chilies or jalapeño peppers (optional) and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the cabbage and mix. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the salt once cabbage becomes tender and translucent. Stir and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving:  (Serving Size: ¾ cup) Vegetables: ¾ cup Fruits: 0 cups Calories: 87 calories Carbohydrates: 5 grams Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 1 gram Fat: 7 grams and Sodium: 307 mg

Fish with Chimichurri Sauce

(Photo submitted by Louise Hinsley)

The new motto after this dish is, “Everything’s better with chimichurri”! It is such a simple, yet flavorful condiment. If you are watching your salt intake, the chimichurri sauce can be prepared without any salt, while still keeping a great flavor. Most any white fish (e.g., flounder, pollock, catfish, grouper, haddock, halibut, or bass) will be delicious, so look for what is available at our local fish house. 

Serves 4, (Serving Size: 1 filet with 2 teaspoons chimichurri sauce) Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes, Total Time: 35 minutes


Chimichurri Sauce: 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, ⅛ teaspoon salt (optional)

Fish: 2 tablespoons olive oil, ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, ⅛ teaspoon salt (optional), 4 (6-ounce) fish fillets


  • Combine the cilantro, basil, shallots, olive oil, lemon juice, ground pepper, and salt (optional) in a medium bowl to make the chimichurri sauce. Set aside.
  • Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
  • Season each side of fish fillets with salt and pepper.
  • Add fish to pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done.
  • Serve with chimichurri sauce.

Nutrition Information per Serving: (Based on ¼ teaspoon salt) Serving Size: 1 filet with 2 teaspoons chimichurri sauce, Vegetables: 0 cups, Fruits: 0 cups, Calories: 145 calories, Carbohydrates: 1 gram, Fiber: 0 grams, Protein: 21 grams, Fat: 6 grams and Sodium: 218 mg

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

(Photo submitted by Louise Hinsley)

This is an amazing vegetarian side dish. Feel free to add 2 slices of cooked crumbled bacon for added flavor if you wish.

Serves 4 Serving Size: ¾ cup, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 20-30 minutes, Total Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients: 1 pound (approximately 4 cups) Brussels sprouts, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled), Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, 2  bacon slices, cut into ¼ inch pieces and cooked until crispy (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 425º F.
  • Clean and trim Brussels sprouts. Cut  heads in half through the core. Tip: Save the outer leaves that fall off and bake those along with the rest of the sprouts, they get extra crispy and are delicious!
  • Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat.
  • Pour the Brussels sprouts onto a large sheet pan in a single layer.
  • If you are including bacon, evenly sprinkle the cooked bacon pieces over the Brussels sprouts.
  • Roast in the oven for 30- 40 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until lightly browned.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Nutrition Information per Serving: (Based on including bacon) Serving Size: ¾ cup, Vegetables: ¾ cup, Fruits: 0 cups, Calories: 195 calories, Carbohydrates: 11 grams, Fiber: 4 grams, Protein: 5 grams, Fat: 15 grams and Sodium: 123 mg

Sources for this article NC Extension Food and Nutrition, Meds instead of Meds educational program compiled by Zach Styons, ECU Public Health Intern.  For more information about the Foods and Nutrition please contact Louise L. Hinsley, Extension Agent, Family Consumer Science at the Beaufort County Center of NC Cooperative Extension, 155 Airport Road, Washington,  252-946-0111