Friday Food Focus: Beets – they make a colorful, tasty, and healthy addition to any meal.
My earliest memory of eating beets has me sitting at the table as a young child with a plateful of what I think was Harvard beets. I didn’t care for the sweet, tangy sauce and adamantly refused to eat them while my mom encouraged, cajoled, and tried everything to get me to eat them. Since then, beets were always on the top of my most disliked foods list.
Fast forward to today and I find myself looking for beets at the farmer’s market this time of year. Mom would be pleased. I don’t prepare them the same way, and I still don’t care for Harvard beets. But I have come to appreciate them in other dishes for their flavor, texture, and color – as well as how they can fit into a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Why Eat Beets?
Haven’t included them in your menu before? Read on for some interesting reasons to add beets to your family’s meals. You will even find a few recipes to try.
- Beets come in more colors than red. While most people picture the ruby red variety when on the menu, you can also find orange-yellow (gold), white, and even candy cane striped beets. That makes for a colorful diet.
- Beet greens are edible too. Use them as you would spinach or chard – in salads, sautéed, steamed or boiled.
- The beets you typically find in the grocery store or the farmer’s market are not the same as sugar beets. Sugar beets are white and contain about 20% sugar while table beets contain about 8% sugar.
- Beets are low in calories, containing just under 40 calories in one half cup of cooked beets. They are also a great source of folate, fiber, and antioxidants, and have anti-inflammatory properties as well.
- Cooked beet greens have their own nutritional benefits. They are a good source of Vitamins C, K, and A.
- Red beets get their color from betanin, and are often used as a natural food colorant. Consumed in large amounts, the betanin from beets may temporarily turn your urine a red color – harmless, but a little disconcerting if it happens to you.
- Studies have shown promising benefits to cardiovascular health, and the potential for improved athletic performance.
- Beets are a versatile vegetable. Prepare them by boiling, steaming, roasting, pickling, or eat them raw. They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor, and are soft, but firm when cooked. In other words, they don’t turn to mush when you cook them.
Next time you pass by beets at the farmer’s market, stop, buy a few, and try adding them to your menu. Here are few recipes to get you started:
Swiss Chard and Golden Beet Frittata by Lisa at Healthy Nibbles and Bits
Peppercorn Steak Salad with Maple Roasted Carrots and Golden Beets by Robyn at Simply Fresh Dinners
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts by EA Stewart Spicy RD Nutrition
Berry Beet Smoothie by Debbie at Dietitian Debbie Dishes
Maple Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables by Marie at Healthy Ideas Place
Spicy Black Bean Beet Hummus with Sea Salt Lime Tortilla Chips by Steph of The Grateful Grazer
Roasted Beets on Ciabatta with Goat Cheese and Arugula by Robyn at Simply Fresh Dinners
Do you regularly include beets on your family’s menu? What’s your favorite way to prepare them? Let me know in the comments below!