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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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