Vegetables are so plentiful and varied that I wonder how folks pick which one for supper tonight. I know that living in the South means we have a meat and potatoes type family, but what about those vegetables?
It is hard to say whether green beans or peas or carrots are favorites. But I know from experience working with the Miss Healthy Comes to School program, that first-graders’ favorite veggie is carrots.
Carrots were one of the vegetables examined in a recent research study on foods rich in beta-carotene and bone health.
More specifically, intake of yellow/orange and green vegetables was evaluated to see if greater intake was related to greater bone mass. Interestingly, participants who ate at least one serving a day of yellow/orange or green vegetables had healthier bone mass than participants who ate less than one serving a day.
In addition, participants who ate less than one serving a day actually had bone mass at a level that could put them at risk for bone-related health problems.
What was most striking to us about this study was the relatively small amount of yellow/green vegetables associated with bone-health benefits.
Through this research, we were reminded about how much can be accomplished with relatively small changes in our daily meal plan, especially changes that incorporate foods as rich in beta-carotene as carrots.
As you plan fall meals I hope you will include carrots in some way for improved bone mass. They can be cooked, steamed, oven baked with other fresh vegetables or added to soups.
Carrot Raisin Salad
½ cup raisins
1 cup warm water — use leftover pineapple juice
1 small can of pineapple tidbits, drained
1 pound carrots, shredded
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Put raisins in a cup of leftover pineapple juice, so they plump back up. Once they plump back up, discard the liquid. Put carrots in food processor and grate until desired consistency. Add in pineapple tidbits, raisins, mayonnaise and sugar and stir until fully covered in dressing. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
2 pounds ground chuck
1 small chopped onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel style tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream style corn
1 can mixed vegetables
1 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
Cook ground chuck with onion and carrots until done. Add all remaining ingredients and mix together. Simmer about 20-30 minutes.
Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots
1 pound carrots, diagonally cut into about 2- to 3-inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Chopped parsley to add at the end, optional
Preheat oven to 425°F and cook for 18 minutes. Melt butter in saucepan and lightly brown the garlic. Add honey and stir until it makes a sauce. Cut up carrots with a diagonal cut. Pour honey garlic sauce over carrots, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook 18-20 minutes in oven on rimmed cookie sheet. Pour in bowl and add fresh parsley when ready to serve.
Goes well with beef, pork or chicken meals. Can be refrigerated and served the next day if need be.
MARY KATE RIDGEWAY, a retired Extension leader, is a freelance home economist and educator.