My favorite nutritional saying is: “No one ever got fat off a fruit or vegetable.”
I love this statement because it is so darn true.
We have a lot of nutritional problems in this country, but eating too many vegetables – starchy or otherwise – is not one of them.
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 nutritious as the “superfoods” that get so much attention. Here are four frequently-slammed examples that don’t deserve their bad rap.
- Corn. Poor corn. Thanks to its distant relatives (corn starch, corn syrup, etc), it has become the vegetable world’s scapegoat and it really doesn’t deserve it – especially if you buy organic. One ear of sweet corn on the cob yields fiber, B vitamins, lutein and a host of antioxidants that are even more available for body absorption than in veggies like broccoli or spinach. And you get all this for only 60-ish calories. Love corn on the cob? Go for it. Make it even better with one of these recipes.
- Potatoes. Veggie snobs often brag about how they’ve given up white 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.
- Beets. Beets are often included on lists of “superfoods,” but they’re just as often called evil by the low-carb crowd. My verdict: superfood! Beets are one of the most nutritionally dense veggies, 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!
Starchy veggies like peas, corn, potatoes, etc. are also filling – kind of like whole grains – so they help make meals more satisfying without adding a lot of calories. Your best bet is to eat them (and all veggies & fruits) alongside some protein and fat.
Enjoy these beauties this summer while the picking is good!