Have you decided you want to eat healthier, but not sure where to start? You can’t go wrong if you remember to eat with color! Make it simple on yourself and choose a plate full of a variety of color. Green, red, orange, and yellow – the colors in a plant based diet represent important vitamins and minerals your body needs. A colorful plate ensures you will be eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables with necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants for optimum health and energy. And the brighter the better as plant foods rich in color contain more fighting power.
A bowl full of colorful berries are so versatile and you will often find me adding them to my morning cereal, afternoon quick bread or topping my salad. These small berry gems pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and the nutrients in blue and purple fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, grapes and eggplant have been shown to slow the aging process from the inside out – helping with memory protection and reducing the risk of some cancers. I can’t wait for you to try the Oatmeal Blueberry Breakfast Bake from my Eating Well to Fight Arthritis cookbook, making an excellent start to your day or even an afternoon treat!
Warm weather has me reaching for entrée salads, but be sure to pass up the iceberg lettuce and instead choose deeper colored mixed greens, romaine and baby spinach like in this Spinach and Melon Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette. The rich green color of spinach hints at its powerhouse of nutrition, packed with vitamin A, C, K, iron and fiber. Spinach is also an excellent source of folic acid, important for pregnant women and for our bodies to produce red blood cells. And don’t discount fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro. I use a heavy hand when sprinkling them in my recipes as they add color and nutrition along with their savory flavor!
Did you know that ½ cup of salsa is equal to 1 serving of vegetables making my Fiesta Salsa a super snack! Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene and immune boosting vitamin C. The red color in foods, such as tomatoes, watermelon and red bell peppers come from nutrients that help boost the immune system and eye health, while also reducing the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Skip your usual chips and try serving salsa with baked whole wheat pita chips, cucumber rounds or bell pepper squares for an even healthier ‘chip.’
When you’re unsure where to start for a boost of nutrition in your diet, think plant based food full of color for a healthier diet. Don’t let adding nutrition to your day overwhelm you, just remember to eat with color!
- Did you know that broccoli has as much calcium as a glass of milk and more vitamin C than an orange?
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are full of healthy fiber. Easily throw them in stir-fry’s like this Honey Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry from Eating Well Through Cancer cookbook.
- The rich orange color of sweet potatoes comes from beta-carotene, helping to reduce the risk for certain cancers. They contain 1/3 the daily amount of vitamin C and twice the RDA of vitamin A.
- Yellow and orange fruits like cantaloupe, papaya, peaches and pineapple helps maintain a strong immune system, help keep vision sharp and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
- 2 1/2 Cups old fashioned oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 Cups skim milk
- 1/3 Cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (more if desired)
- Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Coat 9x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In bowl, combine oatmeal, baking powder, and cinnamon. In small bowl, whisk together butter, milk, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
- Spoon half oatmeal mixture into prepared baking dish, and half blueberries. Top with remaining oatmeal mixture and sprinkle remaining blueberries on top, pressing them in slightly. Pour milk mixture evenly over.
- Bake 30-45 minutes, or until light golden brown along the edges, and center is set.
- Nutritional Nugget: Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps keep you fuller for longer, as well as stabilizes blood sugar.