Get your nutrients beyond broccoli

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables get a bad rap because they are often hard to digest and smell a bit when cooked. So it's a good idea to get creative in the kitchen. Cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale are all a part of the broccoli clan, and there are some very good ways to sneak them into meals.

One of the best ways to eat this vegetable is to snip them up and include other ingredients. Kale has almost 400 percent of your vitamin A and nearly a day's worth of vitamin C, along with nearly 300 milligrams of potassium, which sweeps sodium out of your system. You could whip up a raw kale salad tossed with olive oil. Top it with tomatoes, dried cranberries and pine nuts for a tasty and textured treat. A cup of kale is only 36 calories.

Brussels sprouts
Like baby cabbages, brussels sprouts have 61 calories per cup with 100 percent of your vitamin C. It also packs nearly 500 milligrams of potassium, along with 4 grams of fiber and protein. A way to enjoy this vegetable is as simple as popping some sprouts into the microwave sprouts for three minutes, and then tossing them with a bit of oil and garlic. You may also roast the veggies in the oven for 10 minutes. The roasting helps promote wonderful flavor without the bitterness.

Most think cabbage is for coleslaw, yet slicing it thin in salad is a treat. Cabbage has 22 calories per cup and has a nice dose of vitamin C and potassium. It is a tasty crunchy side dish when tossed with sesame oil and Asian vinegar. There are many different types of cabbage like red cabbage, Savoy and Napa cabbage.

While not as powerful as its mates, one cup of cooked cauliflower provides three grams of fiber, 90 percent of your vitamin C, and again, a good potassium source. Once steamed it can be blended into a puree for soups or even added to mashed potatoes with some nonfat yogurt to cut down on starch.

Broccoli Rabe/Rapini
This vegetable is a distant relative to broccoli. Broccoli rabe or rapini gives you 100 percent of your vitamin A and C in one cup. After steaming the vegetable, add a little olive oil and garlic. It has a slightly bitter, yet nutty taste. So snip in small bites.



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