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Tips for a Healthy and “Green” St. Patrick’s Day

Let’s make our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations healthy and safe!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and it is often a time for families and friends to celebrate and enjoy a time of fellowship. While enjoying the day, be sure to keep you and your child’s health a top priority. Be mindful of any potential health hazards; especially any potential lead exposure. Here are some easy ways to enjoy a healthy and happy St. Patrick’s Day for 2017.

Celebrate with “Green” Treats!

According to the EPA, children with empty stomachs will absorb more lead than children who are full. Nutrition is key. Instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner, the EPA recommends children be fed four to six smaller meals throughout the day — all part of a balanced diet.

If you want to add some green flare to your St. Patty’s Day meals and snacks, make sure to include foods that are rich in these nutrients.

  • Vitamin C – Kiwi, lime, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, spinach, leafy greens.
  • Iron – Lima beans, peas, broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens.
  • Calcium – Green leafy vegetables, mustard greens, kale, broccoli.
  • Other delicious and nutritious green foods that may not contain significant levels of those three nutrients include: avocados, green apples, and honeydew!

Not too concerned about the color of your food matching the occasion? Our previous blog post has other recommendations for lead-fighting food options as well. Make sure that your children also stay hydrated and that they have access to clean drinking water.

Get Creative with St. Patrick’s Day Snacking!

You can also create fun and nutritious treats for you and your child to celebrate the day. Here are some recipes for healthy alternatives to familiar desserts and snacks.

Healthy shamrock shake

From MOMables – Healthy Shamrock Green Smoothie (alternative to McDonald’s Shamrock Shake):

  • Ingredients
    • 2 frozen bananas
    • 1 green apple with the core removed
    • 2 cups of water, milk, or a non-dairy alternative
    • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
    • 1-2 cups of spinach
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • Honey for taste (optional)
  • Directions
    • Add all ingredients into blender and blend until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Add water to reduce thickness if needed.
    • Adjust sweetness with additional honey, if desired.

avocado deviled eggs

From Little Family Adventure –  Avocado Deviled Eggs:

  • Ingredients
    • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
    • 1 avocado, remove pit and peel
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • ¼ teaspoon of salt
    • Pinch of pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
  • Directions
    • Cut hard boiled eggs length-wise.
    • Carefully scoop out egg yolks and place them into a bowl.
    • Add avocado to bowl and mash together with yolk.
    • Add mayonnaise and cilantro to bowl. Mix.
    • Use spoon to place mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle cilantro if desired.
    • Serve.

Want some other healthy recipe ideas for St. Patrick’s Day? There are plenty! Little Family Adventure, MOMablesYummy Yummy Kitchen, and Daily Burn have great selections of easy, healthy recipes for snacks.

Check the Costume Jewelry and Decorations

If you plan to include costume jewelry as part of your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, be aware that those typically found in dollar stores are made overseas and may contain lead. Additionally, popular costume jewelry, such as bead necklaces, are often made with tiny parts that small children can potentially swallow or put in his or her mouth. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that wearing the jewelry will not cause elevated levels of lead in a child’s bloodstream, these types should be kept away from small children as they can be harmful.

The CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency also advise that, if your child swallows a piece of lead jewelry or puts it in their mouth, that you first contact a healthcare professional for a blood test before seeking other treatment options. While most children with elevated levels may not have any symptoms, remember there is no safe amount of lead in the human body. To prevent your child from dangerous exposure to any lead jewelry, it is best to be mindful of where you are storing it or wearing it and to keep it out of their reach.

St. Patrick’s Day is a great day to have fun with your children, and it’s a great way to incorporate some healthy eating options that could help strengthen their development, should they be exposed to any lead. To learn more about keeping a healthy home on St. Patrick’s Day, or any special day, please contact Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Program at (973) 372-4353.

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