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Veggie Bites for Teens: Broccoli

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broccoliWhy does broccoli always get stuck playing the bad guy? You know, the vegetable you'd most like to shove off your plate? Maybe it's just bad casting. Forget broccoli's reputation and consider its true personality. Broccoli is awesome when it comes to nutrition for teens. Broccoli is loaded with:

Calcium, good for growing teenage bones

Potassium, helps build muscle and helps your heart

Vitamin A, good for your vision and helps your body fight germs

Vitamin C, good for your skin and helps with healing

Plus, 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli fills you up and has just 27 calories and almost no fat. See? You might want to spend a lot more time with broccoli.

Teen-Appealing Ways to Eat Broccoli

Munch broccoli raw while listening to tunes. Drag broccoli through some low-fat yogurt dip while speeding through your homework. Toss broccoli into a stir-fry. Freak your parents out by asking to have it for dinner, baked into a quiche. Steamed broccoli is a great side dish; sprinkle on a little salt and pepper and you're good to go. Feeling adventurous? Try an exotic broccoli cake with the spices turmeric and curry.

The only place you might want to give broccoli the cold shoulder? In a restaurant if it's drowning in melted butter. Ask the server if you can get it plain, with any sauces on the side.

Where to Find Broccoli

Broccoli is everywhere: Fresh and frozen at the supermarket, on top of teen favorites like pizzas, or mixed in pasta, sometimes even at fast-food restaurants. Wendy's sells a Hot Broccoli Cheese Baked Potato that weighs in at 410 calories and 10 grams of fat. Unfortunately, it has just two ounces of broccoli and an equal amount of cheese sauce.

Get more of broccoli's benefits by making your own version of a baked potato in the microwave, loading on the green stuff and using a creamy low-cal salad dressing instead of cheese sauce.

Fun Broccoli Fact

Tom "Broccoli" Landers is the world champion broccoli eater. He scarfed down one pound of broccoli in 92 seconds.

Favorite Broccoli Quote

"Newman, you wouldn't eat broccoli if it was deep-fried in chocolate sauce," Jerry Seinfeld in "The Chicken Roaster" episode of the TV show Seinfeld.

Feeling brave? Take the Vegetable Challenge.

Ready for another bite? Try Carrots, Edamame, Kale, or Sweet Potatoes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on December 23, 2013