A Healthy You: Eat the Whole Plant, from Stem to Root
By Cindy Gates
We all know that eating fruits and veggies is a great way to stay health. You should also know that you should eat 9 servings a day. But for most of us, there are so many parts of the plant that we just toss away. And much of it is healthy.
One-third of all food produced is wasted. Studies show that the waste rates for fruits and veggies were the highest of any food. We toss away the broccoli stems and the beet tops when they can be used in such a wide variety of ways.
A few generations ago, we saved all the bits and pieces and they went into the next day’s stew or stockpot. The rinds, peels, and tops are some of the healthiest parts of a plant. Nutrients often are concentrated in the skins or just beneath.
Thy these options next time you cook with vegetables of fruits.
- Greens or tops: Beet greens can be sautéed
- Leaves: broccoli and cauliflower leaves can be used as a garnish and in soups
- Stems: Kale stems can be sautéed
- Stalks: Broccoli and asparagus ends can be cut into dipping sticks
- Peels: Citrus can be zested (above) for teas or salads
- Rinds: Watermelon rinds can be eaten and be used like cucumbers in salads.
So now that summer is here, be sure to get your fruits and veggies in – and this time try eating the entire thing..
A Healthy You is a regular column about nutrition, healthy living and cancer care. It is written by Cindy Gates, RD and LD and the Cancer Center’s Oncology dietitian, herbalist and Certified Wellness Coach.