Nutritional science has come a long way since we were told, as children, to clean our plates and drink plenty of milk. Today, it’s all about color.
Eat these colors in fruits and vegetables everyday and you may never have to say the dreaded word “diet” again. Best yet, your health in 2008 will be better than ever, you could have less colds and more energy. Here is the scoop on colors with vegetarian recipes that will add spark, vibrancy and fun to your winter meal. The recipes could help you trim off some of the pounds you may have added during the holidays.
White: Cauliflower offers the same cancer-fighting benefits as broccoli, its cruciferous cousin, and potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. There’s also some evidence that the sulfur compounds in garlic and onions may ward off stomach and colon cancers.
Red: Tomatoes and watermelon are loaded with lycopene, which may protect against cancer and heart disease.
Blue: Blueberries and blackberries are chock-full of anthocyanins, which prevent tumors from forming and suppress their growth.
Green: Vegetables such as spinach, arugula, kale, and broccoli are high in lutein, which keeps your vision sharp and clear.
Yellow: Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, mango, corn, and melon all contain a variety of carotenoids, which reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Quick and Colorful Veggie Chili
The Cluff clan, maybe like your family, has a few members who prefer veggies over meat. That never stops me from making a huge pot of this chili. It’s great for game night, church pot luck dinners and a quick snack for starving teenagers after school. This recipe makes four servings, but it’s a snap to increase. Serve it with a fruit salad and you’ll get five colors into every body.
28 ounces of whole tomatoes, diced
16 ounces of Italian style stewed canned tomatoes
14 ounces of kidney beans, canned
2 medium carrots, peeled, diced and cooked
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
12 ounces ground soy protein (if desired)
1 tablespoon chili powder (or more)
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion flakes
Combine ingredients large soup pot, bring to boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. I make this in the faithful crock-pot and let it cook for about 4 hours on low.
This is another recipe that serves 6, which includes the essential colors. It’s high in fiber. Use vegetable broth for the soup stock to make it a vegetarian soup. Serve blueberries or blackberries on frozen yogurt as desert and you’ll have all five colors in one meal.
3 cups soup stock (use fat-free chicken or a vegetable broth)
3 cups marinara sauce
1 cup onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon each basil and oregano, fresh or dried
2 ounces whole wheat pasta
1 quart chopped vegetables
1 can kidney beans
Combine stock, marinara sauce, onion, garlic and herbs in a large soup pot, bring to a boil. Add chopped vegetables. I like to use the freshest veggies from the farmer’s market so the soup is slightly different each time, depending on what is available. I have used spinach, broccoli, zucchini, summer and winter squashes, bell pepper, white potatoes and sweet ones, green beans, carrots, parsnips, eggplant and peas. I freeze leftover cooked vegetables just for this soup, too.
Add pasta and cook until it’s tender. Blend in spices and canned kidney beans. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Oaks Broth Break Soup
Talk about color. This soup could be a rainbow. If you’ve been to the spa lately, you know that the soup is a favorite among guests. It’s low in calories, about 50 per one cup serving, and loaded with fiber.
1/2 cup potatoes, red/white/gold/sweet, diced
1 1/2 cup mixed vegetables (chard, kale, spinach, zucchini, peas, carrots, etc.)
2 1/2 cups water
Combine all ingredients and boil until the veggies are tender. Blend. Reheat if desired and add sea salt or herbal powder for more flavors. Some of my family sprinkle it with crushed flax seeds. I like a squeeze of fresh lime in mine.
Gazpacho! Just saying the word brings color to mind. Here in California, it’s the perfect pick-YOU-up after a workout or for a patio brunch; serve it with a stalk of celery and a dollop of soy “sour cream” or plain yogurt. Here’s the quickest recipes I’ve found and just look at the colors.
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
6 or more drops of hot sauce, to taste
4 cups tomato juice
Combine all ingredients. Blend slightly, to desired consistency. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend.
Get more color into your life with all the five above. You’ll feel stronger, possibly lose weight and definitely feel healthier as you vow to make 2008 the year to stay fit for life.
Sheila Cluff, fitness expert, television celebrity and owner of The Oaks at Ojai, is the author of Take 5: How You Can Benefit from Just Five Minutes of Daily Exercise and The Ultimate Recipe for Fitness by Sheila and Eleanor Brown. Visit Sheila’s Spa on the Internet and see all that’s happening at the resort: The Oaks at Ojai www.oaksspa.com.
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