September 30, 2020

Get with the Beet! By Helen Agresti, R.D.

Nutritional Benefits of Beets

Beets are root vegetables grown beneath the soil. They are consumed raw, pickled, juiced, roasted, or steamed. Like any vegetable, beets lose some of their nutrient potency when they’re cooked, especially for long periods of time. Beets are known for their low calorie yet high sugar content. Don’t let the high sugar content scare you. For instance, sugar that comes from a piece of candy spikes our blood sugar level almost instantly. The sugar contained in a beet is released gradually into our bloodstream, which makes it an ideal source of energy for athletes who train or compete for several hours during the day.

Beets contain tryptophan, which provides us with a feeling of relaxation and ease similar to what we experience after eating chocolate. Some individuals that suffer from depression consume beets as a natural remedy to enhance their mood.

Studies have shown that the high levels of antioxidants in beets help to prevent various forms of cancers. Their ability to cleanse the liver and purify our blood helps our immune system fight illnesses by neutralizing toxins, which are later excreted through the urine.

Beets are also high in natural nitrates, which turn into nitric oxide as they travel through our bodies. Nitric oxide increases our blood oxygen level by widening the diameter of our blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and enhance energy supply. This puts beets at the top of my super food list for athletes looking to increase endurance and stamina.

Like most vegetables, beets are high in fiber. Dietary fiber intake is important for our digestive and cardiovascular health. Most of us don’t consume the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day. Eating more vegetables like beets will definitely help us reach our goal.

Give Beets a Try

If you’re new to the world of beets, start by blending them fresh into a juice or smoothie with fruits like mango, orange, and pineapple. This will help your taste buds get acclimated to their unique taste. Also, beets are digested more easily when they’re blended into a liquid. If you’re feeling adventurous dive right into a fresh beet after it’s been roasted or steamed and maximize on their incredible array of nutritional benefits.

Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and beet recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com.

 

Kids and Vegetables: A New Strategy by Kristen Yarker

Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables: One Simple (and Often Overlooked) Strategy

Do you want to know one simple, effective strategy that many busy parents miss when trying to get their kids to eat more vegetables?

Many kids, especially picky eaters, don’t like to eat vegetables. But we know that kids need the nutrients from vegetables for their healthy growth and development. As a result, parents exhaust themselves negotiating how many bites must be eaten. Or, they stay up late pureeing vegetables to hide in other foods. While these strategies may get a few more bites of vegetables into kids, it turns meals into battles and covert ops. And, it doesn’t teach kids to choose to eat veggies. However, there is a non-sneaky way to get kids to try more and eat more vegetables.

The often-overlooked resource that many parents miss is…snacks.

You’re likely already providing at least two snacks for your child each day. But often, snacks are times when favorite foods (i.e. foods other than vegetables) are provided.

Traditionally, vegetables are served at meals (particularly dinner.) Instead, treat all meals and snacks as equals. Include vegetables at as many snacks as possible. The more times that you present a food, the more likely your child will eat it. Studies show that you need to present a food more than 10 times before a child will eat it, but it varies from food-to-food and child-to-child. By increasing the number of times a day that your child sees vegetables, he/she will become more accustomed to seeing them, and will eat more.

Kristen Yarker is known as The Dietitian Who Transforms Picky Eaters into Food Confident Kids. From introducing solids through the picky eating years, she helps Moms and Dads be confident that they’re giving their kids good nutrition today… and instilling a life-long LOVE of healthy eating. Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at: vitaminkconsulting.com