Resolve to Eat Healthy with Winter Vegetables

If at the stroke of midnight on January 1, you resolved to lose weight in the new year, you’re not alone!  Each year, millions of Americans resolve to lose weight, even as over 60 percent of the population is classified as overweight or obese.

For many, diet is a major contributor to weight gain.  It’s not always easy to eat the 5–9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day suggested by the USDA food pyramid.  For those people who want to improve their eating habits, starting with small steps, like gradually adding in more vegetables, can go a long way toward overall improvement.

If 2011 marks your commitment to a healthier you, there’s no better time than winter to get started!  Follow Kyocera as we introduce you to three delicious seasonal vegetables and one warm-weather recipe that can help make a new you in the new year.

Leeks – Though they look like scallions on steroids, leeks are relatives of onion and garlic with a flavor less bitter than scallions’.  Leeks have a longstanding history in the culinary world, from early use in ancient Egypt to modern use as a national emblem and staple food of Wales, and rightly so: leeks are chock-full of health benefits such as iron and protein, and just one cup delivers 30 percent of the daily recommended vitamin A intake.  To properly cook with a leek, the leek should be washed well, as dirt tends to get trapped between layers, and only the white and light-green parts should be used.

Sweet Potatoes – Native to South America, sweet potatoes, also called “yams,” have been enjoyed for 5,000 years.  This root vegetable is rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Though sweet potatoes’ versatility is often overlooked, they share many of the same applications as their distant white potato cousins; they can be cooked as french fries, mashed, baked, and even candied or cooked into pies.  Like any root vegetable, sweet potatoes should be washed well before cooking.

Brussels Sprouts – Brussels sprouts look like miniature green cabbages because they’re close relatives.  First grown in the Middle Ages in what is now Belgium, these tiny buds are high in vitamins A and C, folic acid, and fiber.  They are also thought to have anti-cancer properties.  Steaming or roasting Brussels sprouts is the best way to retain their nutrients, but don’t overcook them!

SWEET POTATO–LEEK SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

8 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes
3 leeks
3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Peel sweet potatoes with the Perfect Peeler from Kyocera.  Coarsely chop with the Kyocera chef’s knife.  Clean leeks and thinly slice the white and light-green parts only.  Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 30–45 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Using a traditional blender or a metal hand blender, purée soup until smooth.



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