Go Orange!

 By Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos            

There is something about vegetables that either brings out great desire and joy to people or a deep rooted dislike, especially in children. I am not sure why this is, however, it was no different during my childhood, and when I had children, it was the same struggle. In my childhood, there was no choice, you ate what was put on the table or you went hungry.  

I also wanted to please rather than challenge “Mutti” (what we called my mom). So I ate my vegetables, even if I hated it. My kids didn’t despise vegetables quite like I did as a boy. This isn’t to say they were fans but they were generally ok with them, except for my wife’s carrot soup. 

My son and daughter just “hated” it to the point where they couldn’t even stand the smell.  As they got older they would observe what groceries their Mom bought, and if there were carrots, they would say that they would be at their friend’s house for the evening. That was their take. Now let’s set the record straight…. my wife makes a wonderful carrot soup and today, I enjoy every vegetable with no exception.

But let’s stay on the subject of carrots and let’s widen the category to include all orange vegetables.

There are three that far exceed the others in terms of health benefits: carrots, squash/pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Here are my thoughts on each.

Carrots

  • Carrots are the best source for beta-carotene, which may help in fighting cancer, especially lung cancer and aiding in the fight against type 2 diabetes. 
  • They are believed to reduce cholesterol, support eye sight and help control insulin levels.
  • Carrots have a nice sweet flavor and can be eaten raw in a salad. 
  • They also are very tasty when served with a Honey Lemon Glace. 
  • Make sure to steam them when cooking, to preserve the nutrients and then add the sauce, glace or other ingredients. 
  • They fare well in stews, soups and even in a nice Carrot Cake or Muffin.

Squash/Pumpkins 

  • They are closely related, coming from the same vegetable family. 
  • They are loaded with beta-carotene, again, which may help in fighting cancer, especially lung cancer and aiding in the fight against type 2 diabetes. 
  • Pumpkins are believed to support urinary tract health and kidney function.                
  • Great for soups, pies, as a vegetable side dish and stews.

Sweet Potatoes

  • In my opinion, this is the healthiest of the orange vegetables.
  • Yes they are considered a vegetable.
  • Again they contain beta-carotene, along with manganese, fiber, copper, vitamin A and B6, potassium, iron —- a real powerhouse of nutrients.
  • They are thought to support a healthy digestive system, reduce inflammation of the colon, help in removing free radicals and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • They are great mashed (to replace mashed potatoes), used in soups, stews, casseroles, pies, slaw or cooked with a nice Cinnamon Honey Glace.

A final thought: 

Dressing up your kid’s meal plate with colorful veggies may help to successfully get them to eat their vegetables without a fight, or at least not a big one. The more colorful the plate, the more visually enjoyable, and fun the meal.  Like I always say, we all first eat with our eyes.

Food for thought.

 

                     

 

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