Have you heard the catch phrase, avoid white foods to lose weight? While some white foods (white bread, french fries, cakes) tend to be overly processed and lacking in nutrients, cauliflower is one of the white foods that you can feel good about eating. Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, folate, and a good source of dietary fiber. One cup of raw cauliflower contains just 25 calories, but 77% of the daily value for vitamin C and 3 grams of fiber.
Although the most common type of cauliflower is white, there are actually orange, green and purple varieties as well. Orange or “cheddar” cauliflower contains more vitamin A and purple cauliflower is rich in anthocyanins- the same compound in grapes and red wine.
Cooking with Cauliflower
My favorite way to eat cauliflower is raw in a crudite (vegetable platter). To make it a little healthier, swap out the sour cream dip for Greek yogurt, this will slash the fat content and bump up the protein. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that actually does lose nutrients when it’s boiled. After 10 minutes of boiling, roughly 50% of the nutrients in the cauliflower are lost. For maximum nutrition avoid boiling; enjoy cauliflower raw, steamed, microwaved or roasted. Cauliflower roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper makes for a delicious side dish, or it can be incorporated into a main dish like this Indian Spiced Chicken. Another popular way to cook cauliflower is to substitute it for less nutritious “white foods” like cauliflower rice or cauliflower mashed potatoes.
Selecting the Best Cauliflower
When choosing a cauliflower look for heads that are compact and have more green leaves. The leaves protect the cauliflower and keep it fresh. Cauliflower can be stored for up to one week in the refrigerator- it is best to keep it in a paper or plastic bag.
Are you a cauliflower lover or hater? What is your favorite way to eat cauliflower?
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.