We've been eating a lot of locally grown foods lately. One of my favorite locally grown foods is sweet corn. I start buying it as soon as it starts coming from farms south of here, and really take advantage of the short sweet corn season when the local farmers start bringing it in. I often hear comments about corn and how people think they shouldn't eat it - even though they love it.
For some reason, corn is one of those vegetables that seems to have a bad reputation between the carbohydrate content to the toppings to the biotechnology. When I get questions regarding the nutritional status of corn, my general answer is that corn is a vegetable and most of us aren't eating enough vegetables.
Of course if you are diabetic, or have to "count carbs," corn will provide carbohydrate to that count. However, that does not mean you shouldn't eat corn or starchy vegetables. It means you need to be sure not to eat too many of those foods.
It is also helpful to not think of foods as "carbs," "proteins" or "fats." Foods are usually a combination of a number of nutrients; corn is no different. Even though it has carbs, it also contains fiber, fat and potassium. Each medium-sized ear of corn contains 90 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber and only 15 mg of sodium (as long as you don't add more to it.)
If you do have diabetes, carbohydrate counting helps keep your blood glucose on target. Other carbohydrate foods include:
Breads, grains and cereals
Pasta and rice
Fruits and fruit juices
Milk and yogurt
Sweets and desserts
Combination foods like pizza and casseroles
Other starchy vegetables
The amount of carbs a person needs per day varies depending on age, size and activity level. Typically meals consist of three to four servings of carbohydrate. An ear of corn can certainly fit into that meal pattern.
If you are looking to increase vegetable consumption at your house, serve corn on the cob. There's something exciting about eating corn on the cob, which makes it a great vegetable for kids to eat. My son who is almost three loves to eat corn on the cob.
While most people cook corn on cob in boiling water, we've recently started grilling it. My favorite part is fewer dishes to do when we're done. Try this simple recipe for grilling corn on the cob next time you grill.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
All you need:
4 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
All you do:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Brush husked corn with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
3. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until some of the kernels start to char a little and others are light brown, about 6 to 10 minutes.
This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.