The brighter the hue, the better the carrot. When shopping, pick large, firm, deep-orange carrots that are smooth and free of cracks-they'll taste better and are much more nutritious. Keep carrots refrigerated in a plastic bag in the produce bin for up to 10 days. They're OK to eat for a while after that, but they will have lost most of their nutrients. Cut off the leafy green tops before storing to prevent wilting.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup of chopped, raw carrots contains:

  • 52 calories
  • 1 g protein
  • 12 g carbs
  • 3.6 g fiber
  • 0 g fat
  • Ways to Prepare

    Toss Some In Soup
    Add 1/2 cup of cooked, fresh, or frozen chopped carrots to beef stew, lentil soup, or split-pea soup. (Even canned soup-just keep the liquid boiling until the carrots are tender.)

    Sweeten It Up
    Mix 2 cups of cooked, peeled, chopped carrots with a bit of butter and brown sugar. Top the side dish with 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds.

    Make A Stir-fry
    In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon of ground ginger. Then add a large splash of canola oil to a skillet and sauté 3 medium chopped and peeled carrots plus some minced garlic until crisp-tender; do the same with 1 cup of broccoli florets. Remove the veggies and sauté 1 pound of thinly sliced beef sirloin steak cut into bite-size strips in oil over high heat. Add vegetables and sauce to pan. Cook and stir till bubbly, about 2 minutes. Serve with cooked brown rice.

    Bake Up A Batch Of Carrot Chips
    Slice 1 pound of peeled, fresh carrots into half-inch pieces. Toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

    Liquefy It
    For an easy carrot soup, dump 3 cups of cooked carrots, a sautéed onion, and 2 teaspoons of curry powder into a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and puree until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of milk and heat on the stove until warm. Add chopped chicken for an extra kick of protein.

    Toss A Salad
    Mix together shredded carrots and diced apples, then top with a dressing made with plain yogurt, honey, and lemon juice. Top with chopped cashews.

    Why You Need Them

    Even though they're sweeter than most vegetables, carrots are loaded with fiber, which helps prevent that sugar from rushing into the bloodstream and causing a spike in your insulin level.

    Besides creating an easy target for hungry rabbits, the beta-carotene that gives carrots their vibrant color also acts as a potent antioxidant, preventing cell damage, slowing aging, boosting immunity, and fostering healthy eyesight.

    Carrots are virtually the only dietary source of falcarinol, a compound that has been shown to reduce colon-cancer risk in animal studies. Along with its cousin beta, the alpha-carotene in carrots tackles tumor-triggering cells, as well.

    Alpha and beta don't get all the glory-other carotenoids found in carrots, including lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin, are known for helping you breathe easier and improving overall lung strength and function.

    Hefty doses of Vitamin K in carrots work to build strong bones and promote rapid blood clotting. One cup of cooked carrots contains a third of your body's daily K needs.