Colorful food means nutritious food...and I'm not talking about Fruit Loops or Skittles. Fruits and vegetables are rich in compounds called phytochemicals. These compounds give fruits and vegetables their beautiful colors. Filling your diet with (natural) color ensures you will receive a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Celebrate these red, white, and blue foods this week! P.S. Throw in some feta cheese and yogurt to make a complete meal...read more to see why these two white foods are included.
Tomato- Did you know that in the 19th century, people thought this wonderful food was poisonous? That's too bad because tomatoes are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium. Store them at room temperature to get the best flavor.
Red Bell Pepper- These peppers are sweet and add great crunch to a salad. Red bell peppers have almost double the amount of Vitamin C from their green counterparts. They provide a source of fiber and a great source of Vitamin A.
Watermelon- Perfect on a hot summer day, watermelon is very healthy for your heart. They contain more lycopene (an antioxidant that is good for long term health) than a raw tomato. Like tomatoes and red bell peppers, it is a great source of Vitamin A and C.
Jicama- This vegetable is native to Mexico. It is juicy and crisp, so perfect for a summer salad. You can also use this in place of a chip as a healthy snack. One cup has less than 50 calories and 6.5 grams of fiber!
Feta cheese- One ounce of feta has 39 calories and 3.5 grams of fat less than one ounce of cheddar. It contains protein and lots of flavor, allowing you to use less than a mild flavored cheese (like mozzarella).
White Beans (Cannellini Beans or Great Northern Beans)- Beans are a great source of fiber, minerals, and protein, making them an excellent carbohydrate source. Add them to salads, soups, and pasta dishes for an added punch of nutrition.
Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt- Yogurt contains protein and beneficial bacteria (helping your gastrointestinal tract stay healthy). Choose Greek yogurt if you want to improve your protein intake.
*Note...fruits and vegetables don't really come in blue, but they do come in purple. These two will definitely pass as blue for the 4th of July
Blueberries- Before paint stores came around, early Americans used to boil blueberries and milk to get grey paint! Blueberries contain tons of antioxidants that help keep you healthy and they may reduce the risk of long term disease.
Blackberries- One cup of blackberries has almost 8 grams of fiber and they are full of antioxidants. The antioxidants in blackberries may have a role preventing cancer. One cup only has 60 calories!
Red White and Blue Lunch:
Chop a couple tomatoes, 1 red pepper, and 1 jicama. Add 1 can of rinsed and drained white beans. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Add a dash of lemon juice and mix together. Serve on top of mixed greens with a sprinkle of feta cheese and grilled chicken on the side. For dessert chop watermelon and toss with blueberries and black berries. Serve with a dollop of vanilla yogurt.