They’re awfully cute, but Brussels sprouts tend to evoke crinkly noses, not kisses, at mealtime. We’ve got a nutritional explanation why they should bring kisses, and recipes that might straighten up little noses.

At home, we often call Brussels sprouts “little cabbage.” In France, saying the same might just get you a kiss.

That’s because the French term for sweetheart, “petit chou,” literally translates to little cabbage. And therefore, to Brussels sprout. Yet sadly, not too many kids are sweet on them. Brussels sprouts suffer from a spotty reputation, largely due to years of soggy preparation.

But there are plenty of reasons to be sweet on the little cabbages. They are high in several important nutrients, including key vitamins and even protein, but low in calories. No surprise, then, that they share a family tree with super-healthy kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens – also known as cruciferous veggies.

It would stink to miss out on all that nutrition because of some, well, smelly preparations. Fortunately, that is changing. Thanks in particular to some clever cooks, Brussels sprouts are making a comeback.

Big Nutrition From Wee Cabbages

 No reason to wait until spring to get them fresh, either. Brussels sprouts are seasonal all winter long and can keep on the fridge for weeks.

Here are the many ways Brussels sprouts are good for you, and a couple of fun ways kids can eat them.

Vitamin K: A one-cup serving of Brussels sprouts carries 195 percent of this vitamin, which protects us from cancer and other diseases. Vitamin K also is important to kids who tend to skin their knees a lot, because it helps our bodies control bleeding.

Vitamin C: That same cup delivers 125 percent of the daily-recommended requirement of essential C. This is a big deal, because vitamin C is a super-strong antioxidant. Antioxidants keep free radicals in check, which matters because too many could damage our cells and tissue. In short, C stands for immunity.

Vitamins A and Bs: You’ll get about 10 percent of your needed vitamin A, which is aces for healthy vision. Brussels sprout also deliver an equal dosage of vitamins B-6 and B-9 (folate). B-6 contributes to healthy brain development and B-9 is essential for healthy cell and tissue growth.

Potassium and manganese: A cup of the Brussels will provide 10 percent of these nutrients as well. Potassium is good for regulating our bodies’ fluid balance and blood pressure. Manganese is important for strong bones and healthy skin.

Protein: A serving of little cabbage packs 3 grams of protein. That is pretty high compared with other green veggies, and especially for a food so low in calories.

Shred ‘em, Caramelize ‘em

Prepared well, Brussels sprouts can actually taste like a treat. Below are a couple recipes for little cabbages that could get you a hug from your little sweethearts.

Kid-Friendly Sweet-and-Salty Brussels

Toss a pound of cleaned and halved Brussels sprouts in three tablespoons each of olive oil and honey, 1.5 teaspoons of garlic salt and pepper to taste. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a quarter cup each of Parmesan cheese and dried cranberries. Cook in a preheated, 450-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Thanks for the great idea, Healthy Ideas for Kids!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Savory Bacon Vegy Vida

Shred a pound of cleaned Brussels sprouts in a food processor or rough-chop them with a chef’s knife. Mix them in a large bowl with dried fruit, your choice of almonds or pistachios and shredded cheese. Add Savory Bacon Vegy Vida to taste and ask the kids to toss it all together until well coated. Enjoy!

Or, as they say in France, bon appétit!

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