Cauliflower is packed with health benefits, and is an easy addition to any diet. It is extremely nutrient dense, with just one serving containing 75% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, in addition to loads of vitamin K, calcium, potassium and magnesium. In addition, it has been linked to anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
In recent years, cauliflower has been used as a starch alternative in countless products. Many processed, starchy foods are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber, protein and nutrients. These ultimately have no nutritional value, and if consumed in excess, can have poor health outcomes, including being detrimental to the weight loss process.
To keep you feeling your best, or help you sneak some extra nutrients into your family’s meals, we created a list of easy, tasty ways to add more cauliflower into your diet!
- Cauliflower pastas: Pasta is a go- to comfort food for many, and can be paired with so many delicious sauces to make a decadent meal. However, pasta lacks nutrients and is full of carbohydrates, which if consumed in large quantities, can have poor health outcomes. Several brands have tackled the challenge of creating pasta alternatives with cauliflower, filling the grocery store shelves with a healthier option. Check your local grocery store shelves for cauliflower spaghetti, penne and even gnocchi (frozen section)!
- Cauliflower rice: Are you a big fan of rice bowls, burrito bowls or fried rice? Swap out a portion of the rice base for hearty cauliflower rice. Although some rices, such as brown rice, contain a beneficial fiber content, adding cauliflower will provide you with additional nutrients that you wouldn’t otherwise be getting. This easy switch will make your meal a healthier option without sacrificing the taste. Search your grocery store for either frozen or fresh cauliflower rice, or grate a fresh head of cauliflower yourself.
- Cauliflower crackers: With a variety of crackers on the market, it can be difficult to decide which you can enjoy most without sacrificing your health. Most crackers are made with refined grains, lacking any nutritional value. Cauliflower crackers are a great carbohydrate- free alternative, packed with nutrients. Enjoy them with cheese, hummus, or just as a crunchy snack on their own.
- Cauliflower pizza: Pizza is an easy and fun meal option, perfect for turning a homemade dinner into a family activity! Rather than sticking to a traditional crust, which is high in calories and carbohydrates, choose a cauliflower crust. In addition, a huge population of individuals struggle with gluten sensitivities, which prevents them from consuming typical pizza crusts. Choosing a cauliflower crust will decrease the calorie content, and add beneficial nutrients that you wouldn’t otherwise be getting, allowing you to indulge guilt- free!
- Cauliflower pretzels: When you’re in the mood for a crunchy snack, think twice before you grab a bag of plain old pretzels. They are made from refined, white flour and lack any essential nutrients. This makes them a caloric dense, unhealthy option. To increase the health benefits while still getting the same satisfaction, opt for cauliflower pretzels. Including cauliflower increases the pretzels’ nutrient content, making them a healthier snack.
- Mashed cauliflower: Mashed potatoes are a comfort food staple. However, potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate with a high glycemic index, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to rise and fall. To increase the nutrient density of this popular dish, replace all or a portion of the potatoes with cauliflower. Paired with the right ingredients, this becomes a similar consistency, color and flavor to authentic mashed potatoes!
- Cauliflower flatbreads: Sandwiches are an easy and tasty lunch go-to, however bread is high in carbohydrates, and eating multiple slices each day can halt any weight loss goals. For a healthier, carb- free option, try out cauliflower flatbreads. These are packed with nutrients, and contain few other ingredients, making them a healthier alternative.
- Cauliflower in smoothies: Smoothies are the perfect way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet without even tasting or seeing them! Mix in frozen, riced cauliflower with your favorite fruit combo for a nutritious smoothie that will keep you full for hours. Not only will this increase the health benefits of your smoothie, but it will thicken it up, creating the perfect texture.
- Cauliflower in oatmeal: Oatmeal is a great breakfast option, and is packed with fiber to keep you full for hours. Adding in cauliflower not only provides additional health benefits, but adds a fluffy texture, without altering the flavor. Simply add steamed cauliflower rice into your oatmeal as it cooks. Mix in your favorite milk, sweetener, and nut butter, and top with your favorite fruits and granola for a nutrient dense breakfast!
- Cauliflower “breaded” chicken tenders: Many people, especially children, can’t go a week without a meal of frozen chicken tenders. However, they are full of fat and calories, and packed with preservatives. In addition, the breading makes them high in carbohydrates. To still enjoy this classic comfort food with a healthier twist, search your grocery store’s frozen aisle for cauliflower “breaded” chicken tenders. These use better quality chicken, and are breaded with a mixture of cauliflower and rice flour. This makes them a carbohydrate- free and gluten- free alternative, and provides several nutrients. They are also baked rather than fried, allowing them to contain significantly less calories and fat.