Better Living for Texans: Broc-N-Roll
By Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez
In 2020, the Better Living for Texans posts will focus on a seasonal fruit or vegetable. Material shared will include the nutritional value/benefits, how to select and store, cook and use, and other fun facts regarding the chosen fruit or vegetable! Have a request? Let us know!
Fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with nutrients that keep us running and going. Like a car for our bodies to run and function properly we need the right fuel – we wouldn’t fuel our cars on mouthwash! So what do we need? For vegetables, per USDA dietary guidelines it is recommended we consume 3 Cups of veggies daily. Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables can be prepared multiple ways and enjoyed raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, mashed, or dried/dehydrated. For reference, 1 cup from the Vegetable Group is equal to 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens. If 3 cups of vegetables make you cringe, start small, start measurable!
As you may have guessed from the title, broccoli is the highlighted vegetable for March! Broccoli is a personal favorite, because it is used in a variety of dishes and prepared in multiple formats. I like to encourage participants to try a vegetable prepared several different ways before ruling it out of your diet. You may not like something steamed but fall in love with it roasted.
Broccoli is a “cool season” crop meaning its season is during the spring and fall. As we know Texas seasons can be wild but remembering spring and fall will help in finding the cheapest and best quality broccoli when shopping. When selecting broccoli, look for firm bright or dark green heads, and once home store unwashed in the refrigerator. It is recommended to use broccoli within 3-5 days of purchasing.
When you are ready to use the broccoli – use the entirety of the product!! The picture below shows a great step-by-step demonstration of how to use florets (the top piece that is like a tree) and the stalks (the bottom piece that is like a tree trunk). (Information courtesy of Montana State University Extension)
Once ready, enjoy the many ways you can cook with broccoli:
- raw on a salad or alone with a favorite dip (maybe hummus or a low-fat yogurt dip)
- steam in the microwave or over the stove
- roast alone or with other veggies (my personal favorite with extra garlic and pepper!)
- stir-fried with other veggies and a lean protein
Incorporating more vegetables into your diet may seem like a challenge; however, with a vegetable like broccoli preparing it multiple ways will ensure your menu does not get boring but rather works towards our goal of 3 cups a day! Are you ready to broc-n-roll!?
Want to incorporate more broccoli and veggies into your diet? Start out with some of these great recipes below:
Broccoli Salad – This sweet and savory salad is packed with antioxidants to keep you feeling great!
Chicken, Broccoli & Cheese Skillet Meal– Add other vegetables such as peas, grated carrots or chopped bell peppers
Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez is an Extension Agent for the Better Living for Texans program with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She is originally from Grapevine, TX but now calls Waco home. A graduate from Baylor University, she loves to venture out to Cameron Park, visit the local Farmers Market, and try out the awesome eateries in Waco. If you see her and hear a loud bark, that’s her pup Lucy Ann just saying hello.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.