Celebrate, American-style!

Happy Fourth of July! Hard to believe we’ve reached this holiday already due to the copious amounts of cloud and rain recently. But alas, the warm weather has reached the wet lands of Portland and souls are beginning to dry out and become enthusiastic once again!

The combination of warm weather, “summer” status, festivities and sunshine often results in a desire to eat fresh, healthy meals. After all, not many folks I know like to feel bloated and uncomfortably full in the sweltering heat. So…in honor of our country’s birthday, I’m proposing a unique challenge which will stimulate your creativity and perhaps add variety to your diet.

Today’s Challenge: For the next week, eat a fruit and/or vegetable that is either red, white and/or blue with each meal. 

Why you ask? First and foremost, fruits and veggies contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber which your body needs to function healthfully. Second, eating more fruits and veggies throughout your day will help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, consequently less snacking on junk food. Third, adding a variety of colors will ensure your body gets all the nutrients is needs because different colored fruits/veggies offer different vitamins and minerals. (Ok, so feel free to add other colors…I just wanted to stick with the patriotic theme!) And fourth, fruits and veggies contain this cool thing called “antioxidants” which repair and protect your body’s cells from free-radicals – which are the buggers that cause cancer.

Ok, so here are some examples:

Red: strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, dried cranberries, raspberries, apples, watermelon, beets, radish, grapes, grapefruit, cherries, and pomegranate

White: onion, mushroom, banana, starfruit, pear, white peach, cauliflower, turnip, fennel, shallot, garlic, ginger, green onion, white nectarine, coconut (not sweetened), and rutabaga

Blue: (often times RDs categorize blue and purple together when talking about produce so some of these foods might technically be “purple” but if someone really wants to complain….sorry, I’m not going to listen – I’m just going to tell you to eat your fruits and vegetables and suck it up!) blueberry, eggplant, plum, blackberry, black currant, fig, grape, prunes, purple cabbage, and huckleberry

One more quick side note: After I just got finished encouraging you to eat more fruits and veggies, be cautious of how much fruit you consume per day. Recommended amounts vary between 2-3 servings (1 serving = 1 small fruit or 1/2 cup fresh chopped, 1/4 dried). Fruit does contain natural sugar, which your body needs; but too much can spike your blood sugar and, if not burned off through your exercise and daily activity, can be stored in the body as fat.

So – go eat your veggies and fruit for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and have a safe Fourth!!

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