Nutrition Fact Friday: Cauliflower

Hey ya’ll! It is Friday. I’m so excited. My little brother is coming from Austin, and I am so pumped for all the fun adventures we are going to have. He is staying until Tuesday, so ya’ll know I am going to have a ton of drool worthy food pictures to share. Until then it is my favorite day of the week: Nutrition Fact Friday. This week’s topic is probably my favorite vegetable in the world, I literally came out of the womb craving this: CAULIFLOWER (Thanks mom – actually read an interesting study about how in the last weeks of pregnancy whatever the mother eats, the child tends to enjoy those tastes too).

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Cauliflower looks like the lame cousin of broccoli, but in my opinion it is like the cool older brother. Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which is why it is identical almost to broccoli. This vegetable contains a large amount of Vitamin C, and actually way more than an orange. Most people don’t know that you can get vitamin C in all kinds of forms besides citrus fruit. Vitamin C protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye health, and skin wrinkling (older people should get their vitamin c on). Cauliflower also has a good amount of vitamin K in it, which is good for blood clotting and to prevent bone loss. One of the best things about cauliflower is that it contains a lot of fiber, so the more you eat the more full you will feel. It is important to incorporate a lot of fiber into your diet because it helps with a multitude of diseases and helps keep your system in check. Cauliflower has a good amount of antioxidants in it, so it helps detoxify your system by ridding of unwanted toxins in the body. These antioxidants also help fight against cancer, so try to get 3-4 servings of cruciferous vegetables in a week.

Now that we are done with the education part of this nutrition fact Friday, I am going to share the delicious food pictures and recipes. Cauliflower is probably the best vegetable because it is so versatile and you can turn it into anything that you want.

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Probably one of my favorite things to do with cauliflower is make my delicious cauliflower crust pizzas that are literally to die for. My recipe is pretty simple to make, so I recommend checking it out. These are really great because you can add whatever you want on top thus providing yourself with even more nutrition. You can either make these with individual pizzas, in case you wanted to share, or you can make it into one large pizza that will last you for a few days. I am sort of liking the larger pizza because you can make it into a bigger and better one.

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Of course I am going to share one of my more recent recipes, which was the sweet potato, kale, and caramelized onion cauliflower crust pizza. That recipe was definitely a winner in my book. This pizza was the best cauliflower crust pizza that I have ever had since I have been making this. It actually has inspired me to come up with some new delicious ones to make in the big style, such as jalapeno popper pizza. You know you are drooling just thinking about it.

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Isn’t this a pretty neat recipe? Cauliflower fried rice for the win. You are still getting all the fiber that you would have been getting from the rice, but at a much lower calorie count. This is probably one of the better recipes that I have made. You really don’t even notice that it isn’t brown rice. I mean look at that picture. It looks exactly like fried rice. My friends at school couldn’t even tell that it was cauliflower. They just assumed that I had made some fried rice.

8557474732_3f8bef055eThis recipe is from Sweet Nicks, and it is something that I have been really wanting to try out for a while now. I think this will probably be my next cauliflower recipe. It is garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes. It is something that is really simple, but tastes really good. I love mashed potatoes, I mean for chrissakes I’m a Southern girl, but damn do those things pack a ton of calories. This will probably be my go to recipe when I’m having cravings for home style comfort food, but don’t want to gain the million pounds that come with that southern diet. Now all I need is a healthy fried chicken recipe, and I am good to go.

I hope ya’ll have a great Friday. I am off to work soon. This week we are teaching the kids about whole grains, so we will be serving things like pita with fun dips for the kids to try out. Afterwards I plan on going on food adventures with my brother and his friend for dinner. I am looking forward to it!

What is your favorite cauliflower recipe?
What would you like to see for Nutrition Fact Friday?

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Nutrition Fact Friday: Spinach

Hey ya’ll! It is that time of the week again. Nutrition fact Friday. Definitely one of the best days of the week. I’m thinking of even revamping it more and making it a link party in which fellow bloggers make a recipe based on that weeks topic. That would be fun. Until then lets talk about today’s topic, which is one of my favorite vegetables: SPINACH! I seriously love spinach. You can do so much with it and it provides tons of nutrients, so lets get this nutrition education lesson started!

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Look at that delicious bowl of spinach. Doesn’t that make you hungry? When most people think of spinach, they think of two things: Popeye and a slimy green vegetable that tastes disgusting. What?!? Those people are seriously delusional because spinach is great. You can have it fresh, frozen, or from a can. It really depends on what you want to do with it and what your budget is. So lets check out the nutrients that are in spinach. One cup of spinach (fresh or cooked) packs a mean load of vitamins to meet our daily requirements. It meets over our daily intake for vitamin K and vitamin A. It is also a good source for manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, and vitamin C. It also has some significant amounts, 5-25% of our DI, of other vitamins and minerals. Therefore by just consuming spinach at one meal, such as in a salad, you are already getting a good amount of nutrients. It is always important to try to have a balanced diet to meet these daily requirements since each vitamin and mineral provides specific health benefits.

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Since spinach is packed with tons of nutrients that means that it also has a ton of health benefits associated with it. Spinach is pretty much a super food or as we nutritionists like to call it a functional food. So lets discuss all the things that spinach can do for you and maybe you will change your mind about this “icky” vegetable. Spinach contains a lot of flavanoid compounds, which means that it has an anti-cancer effect by providing an anti-inflammatory effect. Excessive amounts of inflammation can lead to the development of cancer, so therefore having something that fights against this inflammation means that it will help decrease the risk of cancer. These flavanoids also act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body against oxidative stress, which is a stress that leads to various problems throughout the body. For example, oxidative stress causes damage to our blood vessels, so the flavanoids from spinach come in to help decrease atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Spinach also contains carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which focus on eye health. With the consumption of spinach, you have a significant increase in lutein, which is good in prevention of macular degeneration. Also due to these carotenoids, spinach provides an immune protection function.

So what is the benefit of having way over the amount of vitamin K? Let me tell you! Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health, which is nice since most people think that only dairy products are used for bone health. Get in your spinach to help your bones. Specifically vitamin K helps prevent an overproduction of osteoclasts, which are specific cells that are used to break down bones. Spinach is one of the only vegetables that packs this much vitamin K, so therefore if your diet is lacking then spinach is the go to choice. Get on the spinach train now! Now time for the fun part: THE RECIPES!

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One of my favorite blogs, Skinny Taste,  has a delicious recipe of stuffed chicken with spinach and feta. A good way to make spinach more edible for those palates that don’t particularly like the texture or taste is to mix it with something creamy. Trust me when I say that these Skinnytaste recipes are amazeballs. Try this one out and then go through her blog to check out her other recipes because they are the bomb!

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Check out this delicious recipe from a Tasty Love Story. It is a recipe for creamy spinach with fried eggs. Once again the recipe is utilizing a creamy texture in order to make the spinach more edible, but I like that it uses spinach in other ways rather than just a salad or a topping on a sandwich. You can definitely incorporate spinach into breakfast. You can put it in omelets or even make some spinach pancakes. To make this dish healthier, instead of using the cooking cream, I would opt for greek yogurt. That way you are getting more protein and lower calories.

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A typical route to always go with spinach is through a salad. This is a delicious salad from Recipe Girl. This is a simple spinach salad with chicken, avocado, and goat cheese. The good thing about salads is that you can not only get tons of the benefits from spinach, but you can also add tons of toppings that pack a nutritious punch. Ideas would be pomegranate seeds, red onions, tomatoes, nuts, and avocado. You can get a source of protein by adding chicken or tofu and a source of fat by having the avocado, cheese, or a healthy oil for dressing.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks nutrition fact Friday! Now go out and buy some bags of spinach. You definitely won’t regret it and neither will your body.

What is your favorite way to use spinach?
What would you like to see for nutrition fact friday?