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Learn to Love the Veggies You Hate


WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

By Sari Harrar

Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo

Spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts — don't say "ugh!" until you've tasted our makeovers, all designed to help you eat up and slim down.

When's the last time you cooked cabbage for dinner? Or served beets? If you're as scared of these veggies as your kids are, blame Mother Nature: The very phytonutrients that make some vegetables so healthy are what give them that bitter taste.

The good news: Good Housekeeping 's food director went to town on six muchreviled vegetables — beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, and spinach — to trick your taste buds into liking (and maybe even loving) them. Her fiberpacked dishes will help you lose weight — especially if you use them to replace junk food; volunteers at Pennsylvania State University who swapped some highcal, highfat foods for veggies lost 40 percent more than those who didn't. Ready for some new family favorites? Read on.

Eggplant

ter taste comes, in part, from chlorogenic acid, which helps prevent cancer and can also keep heartthreatening plaque from building up. What's more, lab studies show that eating eggplant lowers cholesterol and helps artery walls relax, which can cut your risk for high blood pressure.

Makeover: Slowroast eggplant to mellow its acrid flavor. Fresh herbs also helped mask the taste. Or to bring out its sweet side, you can grill the veggie.

Cabbage

Eating it a few times a week can cut your risk of breast, lung, and colon cancers. In one study of 300 Chinese women, those with the highest levels of cancerfighting isothiocyanates — found in cabbage — had a 45 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels.

Makeover: To mask the musty taste of red cabbage, mix it with pasta, raisins, ground clove, and apple juice. Chopped fruit and caraway also hide the pungent flavor.

Broccoli

A super source of vitamins C and K (one cup has more than a day's worth of each), broccoli also helps ward off cancer. Sulforaphane, one of its compounds, disarms cancercausing substances. In lab studies, a different compound, called indole3carbinol, prevented tumor growth in animals.

Makeover: Mash together broccoli florets and potatoes for a decadent Broccoli Gratin with Parmesan topping. Since there's no cream or butter, calories are low — about 95 for half a cup. You can also shred and sauté broccoli stems with carrots and nutmeg to wipe out any bitter flavor.

Beets

Just one cup of this superveggie packs 34 percent of your daily need for folate (which can help lower levels of heartthreatening homocysteine), 15 percent of potassium (which reduces blood pressure levels), and 27 percent of manganese (which helps maintain your bones).

Makeover: To bring out beets' natural juices, peel and grate them. Camouflage the dirtlike flavor with lemon juice and sweet dates. For an easy side, try Basil and Balsamic Beets. The fresh basil and vinegar bring out the vegetable's sweetness.

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