“Eat more fruits and vegetables” is the nutritional advice we all know leads to better health and fewer pounds. But even if you’re crazy about salads, the fact is that washing, peeling, and preparing produce can be a big time suck. That’s why we’re so thrilled to find out that you can actually cut out the peeling step in many cases, saving time while scoring more nutrients and a flavor upgrade. Below, Philadelphia-based nutritionist Katie Cavuto, R.D., lays out a cheat sheet of eight super-healthy pieces of produce you should never take a knife to.
Traditionally, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and even a boiled or roasted potato side dish means the skin has to come off. Bad idea. Twenty percent of the nutrients, like B vitamins and trace minerals, are found in the skin. That’s where all of the fiber is too, says Cavuto. Just make sure to scrub the tuber well to ensure it’s clean.
The skin of this plump, meaty favorite contains a phytonutrient called nasunin, a potent antioxidant that helps counter cell damage brought on by aging or disease, says Cavuto.
- Sweet Potatoes
The skin of this holiday favorite is where most of its nutrients are located, says Cavuto; it contains vitamin C, potassium, and betacarotene.
It can be a little rough, but dark green cucumber peel is loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants and fiber, which prevents constipation and supports GI health, says Cavuto.
As long as you give these grown-in-the-earth veggies a good washing, there’s no reason to shave the outer layer. Says Cavuto: “All the antioxidants are concentrated in or directly under the skin.”
Often called white carrots, parsnips are less sweet, with a winter-spice flavor. But like their orange cousins, they also contain lots of nutrients just under the skin—so keep it on when you cook with the veggie.
Many people remove the skin because it can be tough to digest, but that just means its rich in fiber, which fills you up and aids digestion. “Apple skin is rich in quercitin, vitamin C, and triterpenoids, which are cancer fighters,” says Cavuto.