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Gotta Love a Beet!

My 15 year-old-son Andrew is the ultimate vegetable hater- drives me bananas! On the bright side, he has shown slow improvement in eating more than broccoli, but I know better than to force the issue. Even for a dietitian, who serves veggies everyday -it happens. Few families are immune to the impact of junk food's grip on our kids - even if we embrace health fully. I always take advantage of every opportunity. Recently, he's developed a love for smoothies as a breakfast food. I should mention he doesn't like to eat breakfast either- Ugh!

Anyway, I decided to put beets in his smoothie to see what would happen. I guess he thought strawberries were responsible for the bright color. After he commented on how delish it was, I unveiled the secret ingredient. He describes beets as having an "earthy-dirt flavor," but this is eliminated when blended with banana or pineapple.

Not only are beets an amazing complement to smoothies, salads and more, they are also one of the healthiest vegetables. Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains from beets, and both have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Although you can see these betalain pigments in other foods (like the stems of chard or rhubarb), the concentration of betalains in the peel and flesh of beets gives you an unexpectedly great opportunity for these health benefits. High heat can destroy some of these nutritional components, so it's best to enjoy beets uncooked or sauteed.

Beet Smoothie (Serves one)

  • 1/4 piece organic beet

  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek or Vanilla Greek yogurt (Vanilla will add some more sweetness)

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Pineapple Chunks

  • 1/2 Ripe banana

  • 1/2 Cup Almond milk or water

  • Ice

Put in all in a blender and blend until smooth.

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