By Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE
A beat—is a basic pulse in music and it’s also part of the 1967 hit song “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny and Cher, and most recently it is a popular brand of headphones lots of kids like.
The kind of beet I am interested in (along with the nostalgic song) is the root vegetable. I just wish that kids thought the root vegetable kind of beet was as “cool” and desirable as the headphone variety.
So I did a little research to find out why Beat headphones are so popular. One article says the headphones are popular because they “look different.” Well, a different look is one thing the root vegetable has in common with the headphones, because beets, with their deep red/purple hue, look different than any other vegetable. The article went on to say that the headphones were popular because they were high-priced and were therefore considered a luxury item and status symbol—that my fellow parents is what I call good marketing.
So beets, while not necessarily high-priced, are high in nutrient value and may have additional health benefits, which makes them “status symbol” worthy in my book. Now the trick is to have kids consider them worthy of high praise and consumption.
As parents who care about health, it is our job to “market” good nutrition in the form of delicious food. A great strategy for doing this type of “food marketing” is to turn a not-so-familiar item into a familiar item.
Take a lesson from kale, a previously under-appreciated vegetable. Kale is now popular as a power green, and is commonly eaten by both adults and children in the form of kale chips. This is a great trend because a new generation has been introduced to a nutrient-packed super food. Kale is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium in addition it has phytochemicals that show cancer-fighting properties in lab studies.
Likewise beets are nutrition super stars. They are high in folate, potassium and fiber. Beets are also rich in nitrates, which are natural chemicals that your body changes into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide may help boost stamina, improve blood flow and help lower blood pressure.
Michelle, my most recent intern, tested this recipe and we both hope you and your entire family enjoy these soon-to-be popular beet chips.
2 medium beets, very thinly sliced, about 1/8-inch
1 medium sweet potatoes, very thinly sliced, about 1/8-inch
1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Rosemary or other seasonings of your choosing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the beet and sweet potato slices in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Evenly spread slices on a baking sheet (be sure they are not stacked on top of one another) and season with salt, rosemary or any seasoning of your choice. Bake for 35-45 minutes, flipping the chips halfway through. Remove when beets lighten in color.
Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 90, Fat 5g, Sodium 130 mg, Carbohydrate 11g, Fiber 2g, Protein 1g.
Cook’s note: Another way to include this colorful vegetable into a “kid-friendly” food is by adding it to smoothies. The Meal Makeover Moms have a great recipe for a Strawberry and Beet Smoothie at www.mealmakeovermoms.com. Enjoy!
Note: These are best enjoyed the day you make them as they do not maintain a crispy texture.
Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim. To search for specific recipes go to www.universityhealth.org/ewwk. You can also watch the segments at www.wrdw.com/ewwk.
This article appears in the April 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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