No, don’t toss it out. This unappetizing root is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and it has no fat or cholesterol. It also is a good way to get some manganese, potassium, phosphorous and — what else — fiber into your diet. Make roasted celery root “chips,” grate it raw into a salad, or do the old-fashioned mash. It pairs well with apples or potatoes. The nutty flavor of cooked celery root also complements fish dishes.
Misnamed completely, these lumpy tubers are actually a species of sunflower and were originally harvested by Native Americans. Fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free, these unsightly roots have a sweet, nutty flavor and are a great source of vitamin B1 and iron. Try them roasted with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt or raw, thinly shaved into a salad — but be warned, eating the skin has given it another name: “fartichoke.”
No, that’s not the guts of an animal you’re looking at; it’s actually fermented Nappa cabbage. A traditional Korean dish, kimchi often has a spicy, sour taste, probably because it’s been fermented underground in jars for months. It’s an acquired taste for most, but Koreans eat one of the hundreds of varieties at every meal and therefore take advantage of kimchi’s many antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals.
Looking a bit like an extremely large brain neuron, jicama has mild-flavored, juicy flesh and a crunchy texture that makes it perfect for crudités and relishes, slaws and stir-fries. Originally from Mexico, it’s often served sliced and chilled, sprinkled with chili powder, salt and lime juice. Fat- and sodium-free, jicama is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.
This trendy tuber’s white flesh tastes like a combo of cucumber and broccoli and is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Choose purple or green bulbs that are firm and heavy, with no bruises or cracks. Roast or steam, create a slaw, puree into a creamy soup, or mold into fritters. Some also cook the greens.
A cross between broccoli and cauliflower, this crazy “moonscape” veggie is lighter and sweeter than both of its parents. Fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free, broccoflowers are an excellent source of vitamin C, and the unusual chartreuse color adds a visual punch to many dishes.
These homely roots are members of the mustard family and have a firm, creamy-yellow interior. They should always be peeled (tip: it’s easier if you cut the root into pieces first). They are lovely in stews and pot roasts in place of that boring standby, the potato. Just like the potato, rutabagas are a bit high in sugars, but they have no cholesterol or fat and are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese and dietary fiber.
These white, carrotlike roots are a great source of vitamins C and K, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as being low in sodium, fat and cholesterol. The smaller tubers are more flavorful and tender; they have a sweet taste, which is why Europeans used them in jams and sweets.
With 3 grams of fiber in a half-cup, the unattractive taro root is an excellent source of fiber, as well as vitamin E, B6, potassium and manganese. Considered one of the first cultivated plants in human history, it’s also known by as dasheen, eddo and kalo, and is inedible raw (possibly even toxic). Cook it thoroughly and use the potato-like root in curries, baking or roasted into chips.
Peeled easily with a vegetable peeler, turnips have a peppery flavor, are low in sodium and are a good source of vitamin B6 and selenium. Eating the greens is common in the South. Smaller turnips are more likely to be tender and sweeter; look for smooth skin and fresh-looking greens.
Look past the pretty flowers. You’re eating those gnarly stalks. Chock full of fiber, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese with some great vitamin C, iron and phosphorus, cardoon is amazing for you except for one thing: It’s a bit high in sodium, about 300 milligrams per serving. They also taste like the best part of an artichoke, with a lot less work.
There’s a good chance you are thinking of ways to live healthier in the new year. Whether you want to drop 10 pounds, improve your cholesterol or have more energy, we have five food-related New Year’s resolutions that will help you achieve your goals.
No. 1: Mindful eating
No. 2: Cook at home
No. 3: Meatless one day a week
No. 4: More fruits and veggies
No. 5: Water
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of disease — yet many of us fall short on getting our 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily — the amount recommended for an average 2,000-calorie diet, according to US dietary guidelines.
To add produce into your diet, start by assessing how much you are currently eating. “If you are eating two to three servings, can you add one or two more per day?” asked Caroline Passerrello, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Including more fruits and vegetables in your diet can be as simple as adding a banana with cereal or yogurt at breakfast, eating a salad at lunch, or choosing berries for dessert. But it can also be a virtually effortless process when produce is incorporated as ingredients in meals, like adding kale to hummus or mixing sautéed mushrooms into a meatloaf. “When I do a pound of ground meat, I add 8 to 12 ounces of mushrooms, and you get a larger product with vitamin D and potassium,” Passerrello said.
Using a spiralizer is another way to enjoy more vegetables. “You can mix a cup of spiralized zucchini or carrots with your pasta or apples on a salad, and you will have a larger portion, with more fruits and vegetables.” Passerrello recommends lightly sautéing sprialized veggies with olive oil and garlic while pasta is boiling and then mixing them together.
Finally, don’t be afraid of frozen, canned or dried fruit and vegetables. “These forms of fruits and vegetables can be time-savers and — if purchased without added sweeteners or preservatives — are just as, or more, nutritious than fresh,” Passerrello said.
Once you set your goal, keep a daily journal of your fruit and vegetable servings, which are measured in cup equivalents. For example, 1 cup of fruits and vegetables equals 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or fruit, 1 cup of vegetable or fruit juice, 2 cups of leafy salad greens or half a cup of dried fruit or vegetable.