Red, White and Blue Foods that are Good for You

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Red, White & Blue--and Good for You

Written by Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian

These red, white and blue foods will make it easy for you to plan the perfect patriotic celebration, from Fourth of July to Memorial Day-- or even just for a sunny weekend afternoon!

Kidney Beans

These nutrient-packed beans rank among the foods highest in antioxidants and can give you lots of iron, protein and fiber. Add a splash of dark red beans to any pasta salad, green leafy salad or broccoli salad for your patriotic day.

Cherries

The nutrient density of these tasty little fruits is well known, but they don't get enough credit for everything they do for our health. Cherries are packed with phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and hypertension. They’re good enough plain, but try them with pork tenderloin or quinoa or in this Very Cherry Salad.

Red Peppers

These veggies are just plain beautiful, and as a bonus, red peppers contain vitamins A, B-6 and C. Slice it. Dice it. Sauté, grill or bake it. Leave it whole and stuff it. Bell peppers are so versatile and can be added to many different breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. Try it in an egg frittata, an avocado and black bean wrap for lunch, or skewered onto a kabob stick with marinated shrimp or boneless, skinless chicken. The pop of the perfect red makes peppers the ideal addition to your Fourth of July menu.

Strawberries

We all know they’re delicious, but strawberries are also a great source of fiber and antioxidants. The color is perfect to dress up any July Fourth dish, and add a lot of flavor. Slice strawberries into a spinach salad or layer them with fat-free plain or vanilla yogurt and blueberries for a true "Proud-to-be-American" dish.

Yellow Fin Tuna

For a red entrée that's packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, you can't beat this fish. The omega-3’s will help you keep your heart healthy, mood elevated and internal inflammation under wraps. Sear whole yellow fin tuna steaks on the grill, then slice them into quarter-inch pieces. These can be added to salads, wraps or eaten with your choice of veggies. Here are more ways to cook tuna.

Cauliflower

This cruciferous vegetable is high in fiber and packs many antioxidants into its white, broccoli-like stalks and flowers. Whether you’re making mashed "fauxtatoes," or serving it raw with a low-cal dip, your family will love the inclusion of this white veggie this Independence Day.

Quinoa

This whole grain is protein-packed and ready to make an appearance at your next gathering. Quinoa is becoming increasingly available and widely used these days. Add quinoa to salads, stir fries, or use it as the main ingredient in a recipe, like Quinoa Pudding.

Potatoes

Ditch the demeaning reputation! Potatoes are great for you. When cooked using healthful methods (not deep-fried), they are filled with fiber, nutrients and are versatile enough to add to many meals. Try a red potato salad (leave the skins on) this weekend.

Jicama

This almost pear-like root vegetable looks like a rutabaga and is usually hiding near the onions and potatoes at the grocery store. The rough, brown outside yields a crisp, fresh, white interior. Stick to this veggie’s Mexican roots and sprinkle a cup or so of matchstick-sized slices into a salad with avocado, black beans and red peppers. You can also use thinly sliced jicama in place of chips to dip in your favorite salsa, yogurt-based dip or guacamole, or try any one of these jicama recipes.

Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans, also called white kidney beans, have a great consistency. The high fiber, white bean can add an abundance of nutrients to salads, casseroles and slaws, and can even be mashed and made into a dip. Serve this White Bean Dip with homemade pita chips.

Blueberries

Simple, sweet, antioxidant-packed berries. For many, they are the true sign summer has arrived! One cup of fresh blueberries can give you some serious nutrients, like almost a full gram of omega 3 fatty acids and 4 grams of fiber! Add them to any green salad, or bake a Warm Blueberry-Peach Crisp using blueberries along with fresh peaches. The red from the core of the peach even make this cobbler even more suitable for America’s Birthday.

Eggplant

Dark purplish-blue and oh-so-good for you, eggplant is great on the grill. When picking an eggplant, choose smaller ones; they're less bitter than the large matured plants. Once you’ve picked your perfect veggie, slice your eggplant diagonally, leaving the skin on to retain lots of fiber and vitamins. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with your favorite spices and pepper, or dip the slices into a balsamic vinegar-based marinade. Grill about 3 minutes per side or until golden and lightly charred, then serve piping hot! Get more ideas for eggplant.

Berry Preserves

Blackberry, boysenberry, strawberry, raspberry, and black raspberry preserves, especially those made at home or purchased with no sugar added, are perfect for adding a festive blue to a July Fourth celebration without going crazy with artificially colored foods that are high in sugar. Serve your preserves with a whole grain crispy cracker and warm brie cheese. Throw in some cherry chutney to get a true red, white and blue effect.

Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips made from blue corn add a burst of color to your party menu. But remember: These healthy looking chips are still high in fat and calories, so keep your portion sizes in check. The perfect accompaniment to salsa, or as a side to a nice tortilla soup, you can also crunch blue corn chips a Mexican-inspired salad. Add jicama and red pepper to amp up the patriotism!

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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ANGELAIRENE

9/2/2014 6:01:30 PM

ANGELAIRENE's SparkPage
I love strawberries on my salad

7REBACCA7

8/23/2014 8:36:06 AM

7REBACCA7's SparkPage
wow wow all i can say the way i love and prefer to eat

ROSHELL69

5/20/2014 11:22:48 PM

love eggplant but never had it grilled. i must try it!!!

TIGGERP8

5/20/2014 8:08:42 PM

These all are yummy ideas!!!

THEVOW2013

5/20/2014 7:55:35 PM

THEVOW2013's SparkPage
I am picking 3 from each color group and incorporate them into my spring meal planning
jimaca is a whole new world for me

03191952

5/20/2014 4:14:42 PM

sweet & yummy & good for you

MINIK2009

5/20/2014 1:30:59 PM

MINIK2009's SparkPage
Jicama! What a refreshing choice to see on this list. I'll have to give it a try.

TIZZMO

5/20/2014 11:36:17 AM

TIZZMO's SparkPage
Delicious

LEANMEAN2

7/4/2013 7:00:35 AM

LEANMEAN2's SparkPage
good info

SHOYER

7/3/2013 1:57:10 PM

SHOYER's SparkPage
I thought quinoa was NOT a grain, but a seed...?

NAPZIG

7/2/2013 3:35:31 PM

pretty much enjoy this entire list

LCRUMLEY81

7/2/2013 8:08:12 AM

LCRUMLEY81's SparkPage
makes me hungry

KOALA_BEAR

7/2/2013 12:14:28 AM

KOALA_BEAR's SparkPage
Marinated eggplant slices on the grill have converted several friends and my hubby into being eggplant lovers. Great with chicken or fish.
How did cherry tomatoes get left off this list? or red leaf lettuce? or red apples? or radishes - which are a must in potato salad where I grew up. And how about blue potatoes?
I dare say oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries and blueberries in them would make a nice R,W & B treat too.

CAROLJ35

7/1/2013 12:03:25 PM

CAROLJ35's SparkPage
I use all of the foods in article except jicama. Must try that!!!

CAROLJ35

7/1/2013 12:00:59 PM

CAROLJ35's SparkPage
There are 12 of us together for 10 days over the 4th. Two mornings we had a red, white and blue fruit salad: strawberries and red raspberries with blueberries and bananas.
One night for dinner we had my favorite red, white and blue salad: bed of fresh spinach on large platter, sliced strawberries, red raspberries, blueberries sprinkled over spinach, sliced red onions topped with feta cheese and pecans, and a lite red raspberry vinaigrette drizzled over it. Even the kids love it!

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