Carrot sticks are good for you. We’ve known that forever.
I can remember when I was just a little girl, being thin was really the “in” thing. I mean uber thin. Like Twiggy thin. And all the women were dieting so they could be thinner – even though most of them were pretty darned thin by today’s standards. It seems like half the teenage girls and women at that time were subsisting on carrot sticks, celery, and cottage cheese.
Carrot sticks were a dieter’s best friend. Everyone just knew that they were low in calories, even though most of us had very little idea what a calorie was! And certainly, even though we might have understood that a calorie is a measurement of energy, we had no idea how many calories we needed to consume in a meal or in a day. We just had this vague idea that too many calories made you fat; so the best possible thing was to consume as few calories as we could.
Hence the carrot sticks! Because they were supposed to be really low in calories. Nobody talked about them being very healthy, even though they are. It was just important that, as food goes, they were low-cal.
Some people said one carrot stick had only 5 calories. I heard people say a carrot had 15 calories. I even heard rumours that it took more calories to chew and digest the carrot than the vegetable actually supplied! This “negative calorie” myth was applied to several other veggies that are commonly eaten as a raw snack, though nobody ever came up with any actual support for it. Never mind, though! The dieters wanted to hear stuff like this. It made them feel better about passing up the foods they really wanted to eat, in favour of their platters of rabbit food and curdled milk.
Eating Carrot Sticks for Your Health
But those carrot sticks really are good for you. A medium carrot has just 25 calories – a bit more than legend had it in the 70s, but still very reasonable! It has just the teensiest amount of polyunsaturated fat, no cholesterol or trans fat, and low sodium. It also supplies enough vitamin A for two whole days!
Carrots are also a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins C and B6. And one medium carrot fulfills the daily requirement that we eat one dark orange vegetable or fruit.
Carrots are one of the least expensive vegetables on your grocer’s shelf. They are versatile and they store well, and they are really easy to prepare. Raw carrots are the easiest, of course. Just wash them well and cut off the ends before eating (keep these for your soup bag, instead of throwing them away.) There’s no need to peel them unless the skins are really thick and nasty.
Carrot sticks are a great thing to have in your fridge. If they’re already prepared, you’ll be more likely to reach for them instead of an unhealthy snack like chips. And your kids are more likely to pack them in their school lunches, or to grab a handful when they’re hungry after school. Some people worry that cutting carrots ahead of time will rob the carrots of vital nutrients. But actually, it’s not that bad. Prepare what you need for a few days at a time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. As long as you keep your carrots cool, and away from water and light, they’ll hold their nutrients pretty well.
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