This cancer-fighting superfood is worth stalking, despite any gag-worthy memories of limp side dishes past. Here, five easy ways to get your daily dose.
Jessica Leigh Hester 1 / 6
<p>We hate to have to break the news to you, but Mom was right: it turns out that broccoli <em>is</em> basically a food superstar. Still, while we give mom props for always looking out for us, that doesn’t mean her mushy, limp side dish did this nutrient-packed veggie justice. (Yeah. Sorry, mom.) So here’s why it’s worth it to give broccoli another go:</p>
<li>Broccoli is full of <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/foods-with-potassium">p... <a href="http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442460053#.UKq1cHMuRYA">... helps prevent anemia—and it also gives you solid doses of <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/foods-with-vitamin-a-5-... A</a>, C, and B6.</li>
<li>It’s a major <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=broccoli-fights... fighter</a>. (Key word here:<em> major</em>.) Broccoli contains something called sulforaphane, which may help combat prostate, liver, lung, bladder, skin, and stomach cancer. Plus it’s rich in compounds that boost healthy tumor suppressors—and destroy ineffective ones.</li>
<li>Broccoli is great fuel, because with 5 grams of fiber per cup, it helps you fill up fast.</li>
<li>And (drumroll please…) “it’s virtually fat- and sodium-free, and only weighs in at about 55 calories per cup,” says Elisa Zied, R.D., a registered dietician in New York City.</li>
<p>Hungry? Thought so. Luckily, we’ve got five easy ways you can add broccoli to your diet—no mushy side dishes included. </p>
1. Omelet Upgrade
Whether you’re heading to the diner or whipping something up at home, a broccoli omelet is great breakfast or brunch fare. Add some leafy spinach and crumbled feta cheese to boost your intake of calcium and antioxidants. (Easy rule of thumb: Aim for about ¼ cup of fillings for a 2-egg omelet.)
2. Simple Side Dish
Maybe steamed stems aren’t your favorite, but you can kill the mush factor by baking them, instead. Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, fresh-ground pepper, and a bit of parmesan cheese, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Pro tip: For a little extra crunch, top with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.) Roast at 425 degrees until the florets are crispy and starting to brown, about 25 minutes.
3. Savory Salad
Green vegetables don’t have to taste like rabbit food. Take a base of broccoli and amp up the flavor with some crumbled bacon, chopped avocado, black beans, grated cheddar cheese, carrots, and raisins. Toss with an olive oil-based dressing (rich in healthy fats) of your choice.
4. Retro Casserole Recipe
For a stick-to-your-ribs dinner without tons of added fat, mix chopped, steamed broccoli florets with diced chicken breast or lean ham, corn, cooked brown rice, ½ cup of low-fat cheddar cheese, a can of low-sodium cream of mushroom soup, and ½ cup of skim milk. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of chili and garlic powder, then bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
5. Grab-and-Go Snack
Broccoli travels well, so it’s easy to eat between meals. Dip it in hummus for a healthy afternoon snack. Or, try making your own dip by sautéing onions and olive oil over medium heat, then adding and mashing navy beans. Simply stuff a pita with a spoonful of the dip and a handful of chopped broccoli…and you’re good to go. Literally.