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Like This Veggie? Try That One!

Like carrots? Try parsnips.
/ Source: Womens Health

Like carrots? Try parsnips.

This cousin of the carrot has a more complex, sweet, nutty flavor. And one cup packs a whopping seven grams of fiber (double that of carrots), which fends off hunger pangs. Other perks: a stellar amount of vitamin C and folate, plus almost 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin K, a hard-to-get nutrient that researchers are realizing may improve bone health and control blood sugar.

Serve them up Toss parsnips into salads and stir-fries as you would carrots, or make parsnip cakes by combining 1 pound peeled and grated parsnips,¾ cup whole-wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3 eggs, and ¼ cup fat-free milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and spoon onto a skillet lightly coated with vegetable oil. Brown on both sides.

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Like plums? Try figs.

You get the sweetness of plums without all the drippy juice. "Fresh figs have a deliciously sweet pulp and are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and manganese," says Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

Serve them up Remove the stems, then cut an "X" into one end without slicing all the way through. Pinch to open the flesh and fill with a small dollop of low-fat ricotta cheese, ½ teaspoon maple syrup, and a dusting of cinnamon.

Like lettuce? Try bok choy

The stalks of this Asian leafy green are crunchy and mild, and the leaves are more cabbage like. Bok choy is among the top cancer-fighting picks in the produce aisle, thanks to its high levels of the antioxidants glucosinolate and indole.

Serve it up Stir-fry in a few drops of sesame oil with onion and vegetables. Add chopped toasted peanuts, soy sauce, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

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Like potatoes? Try sunchokes.

With its mellow taste and flaky texture, the sunchoke (aka Jerusalem artichoke) is easy to pair with any main dish. The tuber is also brimming with five grams of energy-boosting iron per serving (massive for a veggie that isn't a bean) and inulin, a soluble fiber that may help lower blood cholesterol and stabilize blood glucose levels.

Serve them up For more bikini-friendly fries, slice sunchokes into matchsticks, toss with vegetable oil, rosemary, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Like spinach? Try Swiss chard

An even bigger vitamin powerhouse and with a more intense flavor than spinach, Swiss chard adds zing to any dish. Chard has huge amounts of vitamins A and K and more of the vision-protecting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin than spinach. More great news: A 2009 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that boosting your intake of nutrient-dense greens such as chard will also help you dodge heart disease, the leading killer of women in the U.S.

Serve it up Saute in a little olive oil, garlic, and salt and serve as a bed for fish. Or steam and toss with pasta along with shrimp, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon juice. Stalks can be sliced raw and served with hummus for a standout snack.

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