If you’ve banished white potatoes (too starchy), beets (too much sugar), or corn (must be related to high fructose corn syrup), it’s time to reconsider! Some of the veggies with the worst reputations are actually as healthy as the “superfoods” that get so much attention. Here are five examples that fall into this category:
- White Mushrooms. Most people think of mushrooms as either here nor there, but they’re actually a great source of vitamin D, B vitamins, and minerals like potassium and zinc. Plus, you can eat a whole cup for only 15 calories.
- Potatoes. Veggie snobs often brag about how they’ve given up white potatoes in favor of sweet potatoes, but unlike other “white” starches (white bread, pasta, rice, etc), white potatoes are loaded with nutritional benefits: fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and all sorts of tiny phytonutrients. If you’re skeptical, remember that the flesh of these potatoes is naturally white, so it’s totally different than eating a refined grain product. As long as your mindful of how you cook and serve them (not fried or loaded with butter and sour cream), you can feel comfortable digging right in.
- Peas. Many people think of peas as starchy or sugary, but just a half cup of these tiny green veggies provides you with 4 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and a myriad of vitamins and minerals. Plus, they’re mostly sold frozen, which means they were picked at peak ripeness and packaged within a few hours, so they maintain their nutritional value.
- Corn. Poor corn. Thanks to it’s distant relatives (corn starch, corn syrup, etc), it has become the vegetable world’s scapegoat, and it really doesn’t deserve it. One ear of sweet corn on the cob yields fiber, B vitamins, lutein, and a host of antioxidants that are actually more available for body absorption than in veggies like broccoli or spinach — all for only 58 calories. In the mood for corn on the cob? Try one of these recipes.
- Beets. Beets are often mentioned on lists of “superfoods,” but they’re just as often targeted as evil by the low-carb crowd. My verdict: superfood! Beets are the most nutritionally dense veggie, meaning they deliver more nutrition per bite than pretty much anything else. And their sweet, velvety taste is perfect in so many contexts…with blue cheese and walnuts, with oranges and parsley, grated onto a green salad…the options are endless.
Mushroom Salad Recipe (pictured above)
16 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Handful of fresh parsley, rough chopped
Handful of fresh mint, rough chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Shavings of (good) Parmesan Cheese
In the bottom of a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil with generous pinches of salt & pepper. Add the sliced mushrooms and fresh herbs; toss to coat. Let sit, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until dressing is absorbed (if mixture looks dry, add some red wine vinegar). Serve on a plate or platter with shavings of Parmesan cheese on top.
Remember, if you’re gaining weight, or unable to lose weight, it’s not the vegetables — of any kind — that are doing you in. As my favorite saying goes, “No one ever got fat off a fruit or veggie.”