Asparagus? Seriously, if you want to grow, your mom was right -- you need veggies. When it comes to greens, you have plenty of great choices. Broccoli and spinach are other highly recommended options, but we picked asparagus for its water-leaching quality. Top bodybuilders turn to asparagus as a meal when it comes down to precontest crunch time and they need to get extra-tight for the stage.
Buy It: Whether the spears are thin or thick, they should have a bright-green color and be free of blemishes and bruises. The buds at the tip should be closed tightly, not wilting. For best taste, consume within three days of purchase.
Prepare It: Trim the base of each stalk. If you've chosen thick stalks with tough skin, it's best to peel the base end with a vegetable peeler. Lay a spear flat, then, starting about halfway between the tip and base, peel to the end of the base. Rotate the spear and continue to peel the lower half until all sides are peeled and the base is about the same thickness as the tip. Select a pan wide enough to lay the spears flat, add 1 inch of water and a pinch of salt, and place over high heat until water boils. Add asparagus so that the tips all face the same end. Boil 3-4 minutes for thin spears (4-6 minutes for thicker ones), or until spears are just crisp and tender. Remove and serve hot.
Nutrients: A 4-ounce serving has 27 calories, 3 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, less than 1 g fat, 2 g fiber.
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