Hooray for the red, orange, green, and blue! Enjoy The Taste Of Eating Right

 http://healthperformance.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/nnm_2014-8inch-print.jpgIt’s National Nutrition Month !

Let’s Celebrate Food!  Hooray for the red, orange, green, and blue! Living well means to make healthier choices. Healthier options don’t have to taste bland or bore you. There is no time like the present to start selecting better options for our families.  The variety of fruits and vegetables can be plentiful with the start of Spring.

Our happiest memories always incorporate food to celebrate the moment.  Make those memories colorful by choosing brightly colored foods.  Colorful foods are more visually appealing and your body reaps the benefits by lowering cholesterol, reducing health risks, increasing energy levels, and reduces the signs of aging. Who doesn’t want to look younger?

So tempt your taste buds by mixing it up a bit on your food choices. Think in color!

Red/Pink:  Apples, cherries, strawberries, and tomatoes are your first thoughts and they are great choices. Here are some additional great choices.  Beets, raspberries, red onions, rhubarb, red peppers, red onions, red grapes, cranberries, red potatoes,  pink grapefruit, watermelons, and pomegranates.

Orange:  There is the regular navel orange, but so many other varieties exist. There are clementines, mandarins, tangerines, and blood oranges.  Orange peppers are so much sweeter than the green peppers.  Apricots are loaded with fiber and are a great snack. Sweet potatoes make amazing fries. Mangoes and cantaloupes are great choices. Perhaps the world’s greatest super food is the carrot.

Green:  Everyone’s first thought would be broccoli and green beans and they are great, but let’s broaden our color spectrum.  Kiwi, Asian vegetables,  brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, celery, avocado, green apples, honeydew melon, limes, asparagus, spinach (raw is best), green grapes, green pears, sugar snap peas, zucchini, are all great options.  There is more to life than iceberg lettuce: Arugula, Baby Red Tango, Endive, Green Leaf, Radicchio, Romaine, Boston or Bibb lettuce (sweet flavor and texture), Summercrisp, just to name a few.

Blue/Purple: Blueberries, blackberries, plums, eggplant, elderberries, purple grapes, figs, stone fruit, and prunes.

*Always wash your vegetables and ready-to-eat fruits.

How do you jazz up the flavor? With herbs and spices!
The following flavor and food combinations are adapted from information provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and have the added benefit of making meat, poultry, fish, and veggies savory without adding salt.

If you are 
 Try flavoring it with:
Beef:  Bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme
Lamb Curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint
Pork Garlic, onion, sage, pepper, oregano
Veal Bay leaf, curry powder, ginger, marjoram, oregano
Chicken Ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
Fish Curry powder, dill, dry mustard, marjoram, paprika, pepper
Carrots Cinnamon, cloves, dill, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Corn Cumin, curry powder, onion, paprika, parsley
Green Beans Dill, curry powder, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme
Greens Onion, pepper
Potatoes Dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, sage
Summer Squash Cloves, curry powder, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Winter Squash Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, onion
Tomatoes Basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper
Cucumbers chives, dill, garlic, vinegar
Peas green pepper, mint, fresh mushrooms, onion, parsley
Rice chives, green pepper, onion, paprika, parsley

Convenience is important too during the busy work week. Realize that not everything needs to be made from scratch. It is possible to pull a heart healthy and delicious meal together in less than 30 minutes! Use the My Plate tool as your guide, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low fat dairy and heart healthy oils. This can be as easy as microwaving your favorite frozen vegetables, dicing up some sweet strawberries to place on your arugula salad, broiling or grilling your favorite lean protein (marinated chicken, pork loin chops, lemon thyme salmon), and adding a piece of whole grain artisan bread. Throw in a little seasoned olive oil for bread dipping and you have yourself a meal! Check out “Eat Right Nutrition Tips”.

Additional Information Links:  Men and Women.

Kids and food links : Family Food Rules , 50 Family Recipes Kids Actually Like, We Can! Program, How to pack a safe and nutritious lunchbox.