It’s common knowledge that green is the traditional color of St. Patrick’s Day.

We see it in the St. Paddy’s Day parades.

People from all over wear green clothing so as not to get pinched.

We see green added to food and beer for a festive flair.

Green, non-toxic dye is even added to the Chicago River.

And it is all to celebrate Irish culture.

While certainly fun, we would like to highlight a different way to go green this March 17.

It’s normal that most food banks offer up standard packaged, nonperishable foods that they receive as donations from generous community contributions. But such items aren’t really all that healthy and they don’t appeal to everyone’s food tastes and cultures.

Making A Difference Foundation’s Eloise’s Cooking Pot strives to offer our guests not just prepackaged items for their food supply, but also healthy, fresh green fruits, vegetables, and herbs for better meals and a more nutritious “green” lifestyle.

Whether it is items like celery, lettuce, sprouts, broccoli, spinach, limes, apples, or other green fruits and vegetables, we do our best to offer a wide variety of items that are perfect for cooking and snacking.

Eating “green” isn’t just for St. Patrick’s Day either. It’s perfect for everyday!

Ways eating a healthier green diet can benefit you

According to the Centers for Disease Control, green fruits and vegetables, especially the dark greens, should fill most of your plate during meals as they are loaded with antioxidants and lower your risk of heart disease and give you cancer-fighting fiber. They also have fewer calories, less sugar, and less preservatives and processed ingredients. Eating these types of food guaranteed to help you feel better, more energized, and you’ll more than likely even lose some weight as well!

Ways eating a healthier green diet can benefit our environment

Eating green supports a green lifestyle that benefits our planet too.

Eating fresh, locally grown produce reduces fuel consumption, global warming, and also creates less packaging waste that ends up in the landfill. It also helps ensure that you’re not eating produce processed thousands of miles away with chemicals to keep them fresh as they travel to the local grocery store.

By providing these fresh and healthy green food options for our food bank guests, we are also helping to cut down on food waste by giving people the food they like and will eat instead of giving everyone the same foods that often end up in the trash.

The produce items we give away come from our partnership with local grocery stores as part of our grocery rescue program that keeps edible food items grocery stores can’t or didn’t sell from being thrown away. We also purchase this food from local farmers, which helps them and our local economy.

How to Eat Green

Again, buy locally where you can. Or, if you’re a guest of the Eloise’s Cooking Pot Food Bank, pick up some of the fresh green items we have on offer. If you don’t see something you would like, then simply ask us and we will do our best to fulfill all reasonable requests.

If you are new to green eating and cooking, MADF has a great program that offers a monthly class (with 8 classes a year) that teaches guests of all ages how to shop, cook, and eat on a budget. All participants are shown a healthy meal using ingredients found at the food bank, with a different theme/topic/recipe for class. They also receive all the needed items to replicate the meal at home.

For more information about this Nurturer Program, please contact us at the food bank at 253-212-2778.

If you want to start right away, here are some great recipe websites to check out for green eating and cooking, with many ingredients that can be found at our food bank:

And if you want something more traditional for this St. Patrick’s Day, like corned beef and cabbage, or Irish soda bread, check out these sites for some ideas on customary Irish dishes you can also make this holiday: