Nutritional Tips & Healthy Hints
Bake, Roast or Steam
Winter squash is more nutrient dense than summer squash. The deeper the flesh color, the higher the amount of beta carotene. It also provides more soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. A typical ½ cup serving also provides good amounts of Vitamin C and potassium and few calories. Bake, roast or steam your winter squash to retain the most nutrients.
Preserve the Flavor!
- Vegetables that originate in warm climates, like beans, peppers, okra and summer squash, keep best at a temperature around 50°F.
- Tomatoes should be stored on the kitchen counter and used within a few days. Refrigeration ruins the flavors.
- Winter squash are best stored in a cool, dark place away from heat.
- Most other vegetables keep best at a temperature around 32-35°F.
- Leafy greens should be washed, drained, wrapped loosely in paper or cloth towels and refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.
The Power List!
These veggies top the list when it comes to nutrition:
- Antioxidants: kale, spinach, Brussels sprout, broccoli, beet, red bell pepper, onion, corn
- Vitamin C: tomato, melon, sweet pepper, broccoli
- Carotenoids – Beta carotene: carrot, winter squash, pumpkin, broccoli, kale, spinach, cantaloupe Lutein: kale, collard, turnip greens, corn, sweet peppers, spinach, cabbage
- Lycopene: tomato, watermelon
- Flavonoids – Quercetin: onion, kale, broccoli
- Selenium: Swiss chard, onion
Broccoli has been found to have more cancer-fighting compounds than other members of the cabbage family. It is rich in glucosinolates which, once ingested, break down into these healthful cancer fighters: indoles, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Broccoli also provides high amounts of Vitamin C, folate and beta carotene and significant amounts of protein, calcium, iron, potassium and fiber.
Super Food: Beets
Beets are beautiful in the garden, flexible in the kitchen and very good for you. Beet root contains the antioxidant betacyanin, which has been linked to cancer protection. They also contain folate. At just 58 calories per serving they provide 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, 6% of your daily iron needs and 11% of the Vitamin C you need. Tops are great in salads (to keep them fresh store them separately from the roots), roots are good roasted, freshly grated, or pureed and mixed into a berry and orange juice smoothie or soup.
Super Food: Swiss Chard
At just 7 calories per cup you can’t go wrong eating raw Swiss chard. It adds color to both the garden and your salad and provides a whopping 44% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A. It also has 18% of the Vitamin C requirement and 4% of the iron we need. Cooked Swiss chard has just 35 calories per cup, retains all the benefits above and adds 4 grams of protein to your diet while adding no sugar or fat. It also has a group of antioxidants thought to aid the prevention of heart disease. It is wonderful alone or added to soups, sauces or stir fry.
Super Food: Peppers
Look out chips, the veggie platter is taking over! You know carrots, celery, and radishes are great snacking options but don’t forget to add some sweet peppers to that veggie tray. A cup of red bell pepper has 58 calories and 313% of your daily recommend Vitamin C, 93% of the needed Vitamin A and 13% of the daily recommended fiber. They have no fat and are very low in sugar, contain a range of antioxidants, and lutein which is thought to fight against macular degeneration. For a calorie conscious dip option mix a little plain non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh or dried dill, garlic and a little salt & pepper.