by Jari Love
You have no problem spending $20 every week on fresh fruits and vegetables. But when you pick off the “weird” parts of the produce and discard them before cooking, you aren’t just tossing a few bucks in the trash—you’re also throwing away some serious nutritional benefits. Also, just because a fruit or vegetable doesn’t look “perfect” doesn’t mean it’s not full of nutrition. It can save you lots of money in some grocery stores that offer “off” fruits and veggies.
These forgotten spare parts come jam-packed with vitamins and heart-saving amino acids, says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Add them to your kitchen arsenal and reap the surprising rewards.
- Cantaloupe Seeds – Their Hidden Powers: These seeds are usually the first to go when you crack open a melon, but they’re high in protein, fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Roast them in the oven and toss with olive oil for a nutrient-packed snack.
- Onion Skins – Their Hidden Powers: These flaky exteriors are high in quercetin, a compound that can help lower your blood pressure and support a healthy immune system, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Add them to a stew or broth for extra flavor, then pick them out before serving.
- Watermelon Rinds – Their Hidden Powers: These rinds contain the amino acid citrulline, which can help improve your blood flow, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Throw them in a quality blender with watermelon flesh (the red part you normally eat), strawberries, and a dash of orange juice for a refreshing smoothie.
- Broccoli Leaves – Their Hidden Powers: These leafy greens are a triple threat with high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Cut them up and throw them into a stir-fry along with the rest of the broccoli. This is one simple way to make your diet better.
- Celery Tops – Their Hidden Powers: They’re super flavorful and full of muscle-building magnesium, bone-strengthening calcium, and vitamin C, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Use them like an herb and add to a vegetable or chicken soup.
- Orange Peels – Their Hidden Powers: You already knew they smell fantastic, but they’re also rich in digestive system-soothing fiber and immune-boosting vitamin C, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Use a cheese grater to sprinkle some on top of fish or chicken.
- Swiss Chard Stalks – Their Hidden Powers: Their vibrant, reddish-purple color signals that they’re high in carotenoids, which act as disease-fighting antioxidants. They’re also full of Vitamin K, an important nutrient for boosting bone health, says Bonci.
How to Eat Them: Sauté them with mushrooms and onions for a tasty side dish. Via yahoo.com
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.