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We all know that we are supposed to be eating more vegetables. Even with all good intentions though, many of us fall way short in the veggie department. According to CDC data only 9% of Americans manage to eat the two to three daily cups of veggies that are recommended.
Carrots to the rescue!
Here are some really good reasons to bring carrots onto your plate:
1. Carrots taste amazing! The slightly sweet flavor of carrots is delicious whether eaten raw with a dip of ranch or hummus OR steamed and tossed with real butter, basil, pepper and a dash of salt.
2. Carrots are among the most affordable of all veggies. Expect to pay less than $1.00 per pound for whole, fresh carrots! Doing the work of washing, scraping and cutting them yourself saves a LOT of money.
3. Carrots are nutrient dense. This popular root veggie is loaded with beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects us from cancers. It is also a good source of potassium for heart health. The fiber in carrots helps to normalize blood sugar levels and to promote good digestive health.
4. Carrots are much lower in carbohydrate than potatoes. While not actually considered to be a “low carb” veggie (such as cabbage, kale, spinach, cauliflower, green beans, collard greens, etc.), carrots have only half of the amount of carbohydrate found in potatoes.
5. Carrots are versatile. They are perfect when served raw as a crunchy side with sandwiches. Or they may be tossed in olive oil and roasted alongside a chicken. Grated raw carrot may be sprinkled onto tacos, salads, pizza or even added to scrambled eggs. Some people like to eat a bowl of grated carrot… instead of having their usual salad.
6. Carrots stay fresh longer than many other vegetables. Just keep them covered in the fridge and they will be good for 2 or more weeks.
Random Carrot Fact: It’s OK to eat the carrot greens!
Warm Chickpea and Carrot-top Salad
Recipe from Vegetarian Times
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 medium onion, minced
1 14-oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup finely chopped carrot greens,
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
1. Heat oil over medium heat.
2. Add cumin, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant.
3. Add onion and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes.
4. Add chickpeas and sauté until heated through and any liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
5. Remove pan from heat and add carrot greens.
6. Toss, then transfer to a serving bowl and season with lemon juice and salt before serving.
And here is another recipe for carrot greens from Chop Chop cooking magazine: https://www.chopchopfamily.org/recipe/carrot-greens-chimichurri
Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN
Nutritionist, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program