Squashing myths about carbs
Fall is just around the corner, and with the chilly season comes the opportunity for consuming delicious in-season produce. Great options that are plentiful during fall include spaghetti, acorn and butternut squash as well root vegetables, such as turnips and beets. Some fall produce items are higher in carbohydrates than most other produce, so it often raises the question: “Should I be eating this?”
Discussion about carbohydrates is a hot topic right now, so one may be surprised to hear that 45 to 65 percent of our daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. It is important, however, that we are choosing the right carbohydrates the majority of the time.
So what are considered the “right” carbohydrates? The carbohydrates that we want to choose most often are the ones that are the most nutrient-dense. These would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and milk. They include plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Fall produce is a great way to get nutrient-dense carbohydrates into our diets, as they are packed with nutrition. For example, one cup of winter squash contains vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, fiber and almost 60 percent of our daily recommended intake of vitamin A. This fall, make sure to experiment with winter squash. It’s easy to prepare, delicious and nutritious!
In addition, whole grains are another great way to include nutrient-dense carbohydrates in our diets. Whole grains contain protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, folate, copper and magnesium. By choosing a whole grain, research indicates that it may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer.
Beets are another great nutrient-dense carbohydrate to try. This fall produce item is an excellent source of folate and is so easy to prepare. One can roast, microwave, juice or even eat raw. Try the recipe below for a new healthy side dish.
Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets
Serves 4 (about 2/3 cup each).
All you need:
1 1/2 pounds golden or red beets, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or wedges
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried herbs, such as marjoram, oregano and/or rosemary
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice, optional
All you do:
• Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees.
• Combine oil, herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add beets; toss to coat with the seasoning mixture.
• Spread beets evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.
• Roast, stirring once or twice, until the beets are tender and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Toss the roasted vegetables with lemon juice, if using.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 118 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 423mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 3g protein.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Rachelle Deutz is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Marshall.