Beets: Earthy Root Goodness

standard May 4, 2015 Leave a response

Beets fall into the category of foods I never ate or liked but never actually tried. Until they started showing up in my first CSA a few years ago. And while most people do not like their raw, earthy flavor, I love them straight up. While roasting them certainly brings out their sweet, juicy flavors, the gritty earthiness of a raw beet is perfect in smoothies and salads. My all time favorite meal at a restaurant was a beet carpaccio with super thinly sliced beets dressed with mango and arugula. Simple perfection.

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Nutrition:

Beets are one of those sneaky powerhouse foods, packing a whole lot of nutrition density into a seemingly small vegetable. A single cup comes in at 60 calories with no fat, a ton of fiber, and a little protein. Micronutrients with over 10% DV include potassium, vitamin C,  manganese, and folate. They also contain moderate amounts of copper, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and phosphorus.

Benefits:

The beet’s hallmark bright red color comes from betalains that gives it cancer fighting properties. The orange/yellow varieties also contain different types of betalains that function as antioxidants and detoxifiers.

With a whopping 37% DV folate per cup, beets are a terrific food for pregnant women. Their vitamin B6 and iron content is also beneficial to gestational growth.

Don’t throw away the tops! Beet greens are high in antioxidants and vitamin A. Swap your kale for them in a smoothie or saute like chard and enjoy an extra nutritional boost.

Recipes:

Scared of beets? Give them a shot in one of these recipes, full of these red roots hidden among other flavor goodness:

Strawberries: Signs of Summer

standard April 20, 2015 Leave a response

One of my favorite food memories growing up was eating bowls of Cheerios and strawberries in the summer. There’s something about the sweet, tart, sticky flavor that just screams summer. Which is ironic when you consider that, at least in Texas, strawberry season starts as early as February. The first time I got strawberries in my CSA delivery, most of the country still had snow on the ground. One of the reasons Texas is slowly growing on me. Juicy, local strawberries for half the year? Yes, please! This week I got my first pint of the season, and it took all my willpower to not eat them all at once.

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Nutrition:

A cup of strawberries packs 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, and 150% DV vitamin C into just 50 calories. Like most fruits and veggies, strawberries also fit a ton of vitamins and nutrients into their little red juicy fruit. Most notably, they are g good source of folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

Benefits:

The strawberry is high in antioxidants and polyphenols that act as an anti-inflammatory, benefiting heart health, reducing risk of stroke, and alleviating allergies. Their potassium content also aids in heart health by balancing sodium intake to help reduce blood pressure. As a high fiber food, strawberries are good for regulating digestion and maintaining a healthy weight. And their folate content is particularly beneficial for pregnancy and pre-natal health.

Recipes:

Still good straight from the container or in a bowl of cereal, but these recipes will elevate the strawberry to a whole new level of summery deliciousness.

Artichokes: Spring Flowers

standard April 6, 2015 Leave a response

Artichokes are one of the few foods that scare me a little. Their preparation seemed daunting, their appearance was a little rough. But the tender centers are worth the effort. Plus, these green flower buds are packed full of nutritional goodness.

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Nutrition:

In one 60 calorie artichoke, there is 7 g fiber and 4 g protein plus a laundry list of vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, folate, vitamin K, copper, and manganese. Loaded with antioxidants, artichokes are a terrific food to add to your daily diet.

Benefits:

As a low carbohydrate, high fiber vegetable, artichokes are great for weight loss and weight management, since the fiber will fill you up and keep you feeling full. Their high fiber content also aids in digestion and blood sugar control, lowering the risk of heart disease.

The antioxidant content in artichokes helps to boost immunity and prevent disease. Their vitamin C content especially helps to support immune system health.

Recipes:

If you’re scared of artichokes, given them one try with one of these savory recipes: