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Can We Just Let Cauliflower Be Cauliflower?

Cauliflower steaks with cilantro lime and avocado; roasted cauliflower and guacamole

In the eyes of many consumers, cauliflower is a great replacement for carbohydrate sources like bread. But is it all that it’s hyped up to be? Can a cauliflower pizza truly satisfy the craving of a traditional deep-dish pizza? Should I be eating cauliflower instead of rice? Read on to discover the truth about this cauliflower fad.

What’s the big deal about cauliflower?

Cauliflower is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable. Like other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower has antioxidant properties that may provide protection against certain diseases and cancers.

Additionally, cauliflower has an impressive nutrient profile. One cup of cauliflower provides:

  • 25 calories

  • 3 grams of fiber

  • 77% of your daily needs for vitamin C

  • 20% of your daily needs for vitamin K

  • 14% of your daily needs for folate

Cauliflower also has a significant amount of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, and a small amount of many other vitamins and minerals. Needless to say, this vegetable does have a lot to offer, but can it replace the nutrients found in bread, rice, and oats?

What Cauliflower Can’t Replace

Many of these cauliflower swaps are replacing an important food group – whole grains.

Whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oats are all whole grains and recommended to be consumed daily. MyPlate recommends making half of your grains whole, which is about 3-8 ounces per day. For most people, that means consuming whole grains at every meal.

While cauliflower does contain many essential nutrients, it also lacks many that are found in whole grains, such as iron and many B vitamins – including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin.

So consider this next time you want to make the swap, and remind yourself that you do need to be consuming whole grains daily.

“But cauliflower is a low-carb option so it’s healthier, right?”

True and false. Cauliflower is a carbohydrate but is a lower-carb option than most meal items it would typically replace – making this swap more appealing to many people. However, a lower-carb meal doesn’t necessarily mean healthier.

Contrary to the popular belief that we all need to be choosing low-carb options for most meals, carbohydrates are not bad! We actually need carbohydrates to survive. Carbohydrates are our body’s primary fuel sources, and when choosing the right carbohydrates, they can have protective effects against certain diseases and even aid in weight loss.

It is important to know that your body needs carbohydrates from a variety of sources – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Instead of Swapping, Try Adding Cauliflower to your Meal

Instead of replacing bread, pasta, and rice, try adding cauliflower to your meals. Try to balance each meal with whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables. You have permission to eat rice AND cauliflower in the same meal. You also have the freedom to include pizza as a part of your well-balanced diet.

For a fun way to include cauliflower in a meal without swapping the delicious carbs we all love, try this cauliflower oatmeal recipe!

Know that Cauliflower is a Fad

Similar to the celery juice cleanse and apple cider vinegar daily detox – cauliflower replacements are a fad. Until the next hot fruit or vegetable makes its appearance, cauliflower will continue to be the carbohydrate replacement for many.

If you enjoy swapping out deep dish pizza for a cauliflower replacement, by all means! But know that you don’t have to. You can let cauliflower be cauliflower.

Learn more about healthy eating and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.

Written by Sheridan Glaske, Wellness Workdays Intern




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