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Friday, January 30, 2009

Color Coordinate Your Diet

Color Coordinate Your Diet

By Shawn McKee
eDiets Staff Writer

Summer means reinvigorating your wardrobe with white pants, shorts, sundresses, tank tops and bikinis -- oh my! Your style has come out of its winter cocoon and blossomed into a beautiful button-fly.

The colors are vibrant and the sun is shining, but there's still something that's not matching this year -- your diet! You need to color coordinate your meals to match the radiant hues of the summer season.

Many fruits and vegetables are at their peak in the summer months, reaching a level of freshness that tantalizes the taste buds and assaults the senses. Succulent flavors explode at family picnics and company BBQs, like so many Fourth of July fireworks shows, leaving those experiencing the phenomenon to "ooh" and "ah" in sheer delight.

Coordinating your diet is much easier than your wardrobe. In the simplest terms: the more colorful your diet, the better it is for your health. So this summer, be daring with your color choices and try a rainbow of flavors.

Yellow, There: Summer Squash, Pineapple, Corn, Mango
Add any one of these to your summer meals to add color, flavor and a variety of health benefits. Grilling corn on the cob is a great way to cook this starchy vegetable for the family and grilled pineapple tastes sweeter than candy. Mango salsa is a great way to refresh your fish dishes.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad (8 servings)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
2 cups diced peeled ripe mango (about 2 pounds)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
8 cups gourmet salad greens

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in corn then cook 8 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Place corn mixture in a large bowl. Add mango and remaining ingredients except greens; stir well. Arrange 1 cup greens on each of 8 plates. Spoon 1 cup corn mixture over greens.

Nutrition per serving: CALORIES 204 (15 percent from fat); FAT 3.3 grams (sat 0.6 grams, mono 0.8 grams, poly 1.5 grams); PROTEIN 9.2 grams; CHOLESTEROL 0 milligrams; CALCIUM 56 milligrams; SODIUM 315 milligrams; FIBER 6.9 grams; IRON 2.8 milligrams; CARBOHYDRATES 39 grams.

Green Giants: Watermelon, Avocados, Green Beans, Arugala, Celery, Cucumbers, Guavas, Okra, Peppers, Honeydew Melons
Summer hasn't officially started until you've had a slice of juicy watermelon, loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. Adding any variety of colorful peppers to salads or stir-fry is a great way to spice things up and add vitamins A and C to your diet.

Berry Colorful Mixture: Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Plums, Blackberries, Blueberries, Plums, Tomatoes
Berries taste great and are rich in antioxidants. Animal studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries improved both learning capacity and motor skills. Just add a few to your cereal or yogurt daily. OK, so tomatoes aren't berries, but in the summer, you can get fresh varieties that you may not get normally.

Strawberry Oat Muffins

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a muffin pan or use paper liners. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and let stand five minutes. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the egg, oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Blend in the oat mixture. Stir in the flour mixture, just until moistened. Fold in strawberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 full.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Orange You Glad It's Summer? Apricots, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Nectarines
Orange and yellow fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids. They are great for the immune system, as well as eyesight. Follow the Allman Brothers' advice and Eat a Peach -- or try some peach salsa.

Peach Salsa
2 tomatoes, chopped
2/3 onions, finely chopped
1/2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1/8 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/8 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup and 3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 tsp. distilled white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 teaspoons pickling spice, wrapped in cheesecloth

1. In a large saucepan, bring to a boil the tomatoes, onions, peaches, pears, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, sugar, vinegar and salt. Reduce heat. Place the pickling spice into the mixture. Stirring frequently, simmer 1 1/2 hours or until volume is reduced by half.
2. Discard spice bag. Transfer the mixture to container. Store in the refrigerator until use.

Now that summer's here, go out and get some color. Your body and taste buds will thank you. Have a great summer!

Shawn McKee graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Journalism and has written for The Broward and Miami New Times.


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