With 365 days in a year, I suppose it makes sense that there is such a thing as International Carrot Day. Honest, it does exist and it’s today! I couldn’t resist writing a little tale about carrots and why you should include them in your diet.
I loved carrots as a kid. I still do. Which is surprising given I’ve had to work my way through a 10 kg bag of them. Before you jump to any conclusions let me first set the scene. When I was a teenager I loved cooking; I’d cook dinner every day. I also did love to munch on a carrot or two, on more days than not. One day my Dad came home with a 10 kg bag of carrots. ‘Um…why do you have a 10 kg bag of carrots?’ I asked. ‘Because you love carrots’ was the response. That’s it. Ask an obvious question and you get an obvious answer. Well, not really in this case. Either way, it didn’t change the fact that we now had a 10 kg bag of carrots and I was the cook of the house. A 10 kg bag of carrots is big, larger in size than a toddler because carrots are not like Tetris blocks. Let’s say it’s the size of a small child. Our bag of carrots literally had a seat at the end of the table. It was the newest member of our family.
Maybe I liked the challenge or perhaps even at that age I didn’t like to waste food. Whatever the reason I was determined to cook my way through that bag of carrots and I succeeded in doing so.
So this little post is a tribute to International Carrot Day and to that 10kg bag of carrots. On some level the challenge probably contributed to my love of cooking and my now future study of nutrition and dietetics. I now not only know an abundance of ways to cook carrots but I also know their nutritional content and health benefits.
Carrots are low in kilojoules and high in fibre, with 132 kilojoules and 3.9 grams of fibre per 100 grams. They also are an excellent source of vitamin A which helps vision and immune function. Per 100 grams they contain 1316 ug, which is 188% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin A for women (19+ years) and 146% RDI for men (19+ years). Carrots are also a source of vitamins B6, C and the mineral, potassium.
We all have heard stories where people have eaten too many carrots and turned just that bit orange, due to the high amount of beta-carotene present. I always had a good tan when I was a teenager. I put that down to being outside in the sun but upon reflection maybe it was just too many carrots. It is highly plausible but we’ll never know now for sure. It is not something that the NHMRC would recommend though, as there is a risk of adverse effects when more than 3000 ug of vitamin A is consumed (this is the Upper Limit amount for vitamin A consumption for adults 19 years and older).
To end this little tribute, here are some cooking ideas for those of you that have the normal 1 kg bag of carrots in the fridge:
- Next time you’re roasting vegetables, add some carrots. Peel, keep whole or cut larger carrots in halves or quarters, parboil and add to the baking tray
- The closest friends of carrots include honey, ginger, orange (zest and juice), coriander (dried and fresh) and cumin. Add any of them to carrots and they have a great time
- Switch up your mash and try carrot mash instead
- If you’re a juice kind of person, add a carrot to the mix
- For a very lazy (but healthy) lunch, add a grated carrot to half a can of cannellini or butter beans and a tin of flavoured tuna. I particularly like the Indian Curry flavoured tuna tins with this combination
- An even lazier option (as suggested by my partner :)) is to simply throw a carrot in your lunch box
- You may also like ‘Simple sweet carrot salad’ that I posted previously