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Introducing a variety of veggies early is the key to raising an adventurous, healthy eater. But we know that effort can feel challenging sometimes. Through exposure, we now know kids can learn to LOVE vegetables. And you can help reinforce the same Veggies Early & Often campaign we embrace at school by being a role model for children at home—through cooking and eating a balanced, plant-forward diet.
This month, we’re focusing on the wonderful benefits of beets.
The versatile root vegetable contains vitamins, fiber, and more. Its beautiful deep red color makes beets the perfect vegetable to highlight in February since it’s also American Heart Month. In fact, beets are unique for their cardiovascular and heart health benefits. They enhance blood flow, improve the health of arteries, and reduce LDL cholesterol.
There are several ways to prepare and eat beets. They may seem a little intimidating at first, but once you learn to cook with beets, we hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how delicious they are.
Buy canned beets and add slices to your salad or blend them with hummus. When you’re ready, buy fresh beets that are firm and free of blemishes. If the greens remain attached, you can eat those too! Add them to a salad or use them to replace any dark leafy greens in recipes.
Beets come in many sizes, shapes, and colors—including red, golden, or red and white stripes. Medium beets (2 to 4 inches in diameter) are preferable. Small beets take longer to peel. Larger beets tend to be less flavorful.
First, remove the greens leaving about one inch of the stalk to prepare beets for cooking. Wash them under cold water to remove the dirt and sand. Red beets will stain anything they touch so beware!
Before you peel the beets, make sure to let them cool. You can also run them under cold water to speed this process along. Then, simply rub the skin off or use a peeler or knife to remove the skin. Beets taste great with just a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
Try beets using one of our delicious, Grow Fit®-inspired recipes. They’re part of the Veggies Early & Often effort and approved by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).
2 medium beets, stem removed (could substitute 1 cup canned beets)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup lemon juice
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. salt
5 large carrots, peeled
4 medium beets, peeled
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
4 to 5 medium beets
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. light sour cream
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup raisins
¼ tsp. garlic powder