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Color Your Plate

The new U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating fruits and vegetables of all colors to ensure you get the nutrients you need. Spring, a time marked by its vibrant colors, is the perfect time to begin incorporating this recommendation into your diet. In the spirit of the season, be sure to “color your plate,” and include a variety of colorful fruits and veggies in each meal. Adding color to your plate not only makes eating fruits and vegetables fun, it also allows you to try new spring recipes. Read on to learn how to add some of the season’s most brightly hued produce into your diet.

Fruits
Strawberries hit their peak ripeness in the spring time. Filled with great nutrients like vitamin C and folate, strawberries are also fat and cholesterol free, making them a great alternative to sugary snacks when you’re craving something sweet. When picking strawberries, choose bright, shiny, and firm berries with fresh caps to ensure you’re reaping all of the fruit’s health benefits. While strawberries are delicious plain, an innovative way to add them to your spring menu is through a refreshing Strawberry Gazpacho. Checkout the recipe here!

Apricots, a fruit native to China, are also at their best in the spring. An excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, apricots only have 17 calories, making them a great snack. When shopping for this fruit, choose apricots that are firm and consistently the same color. This apricot leather is a fun snack and a great way to sneak an extra serving of fruit into your child’s diet.

Honeydew melons are tastiest in the spring, when they’re at their ripest.  Not only is honeydew cholesterol free, but a wedge of honeydew provides nearly half of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. When buying honeydew, look for one that is nearly spherical with a waxy surface and don’t forget to be creative with its preparation! Try making this yummy honeydew melon smoothie with Juice Plus+ French Vanilla to start your day!

Vegetables
While white asparagus does not exactly bring “color” to your plate, it is a good source of vitamins A and C. Known as the vampire vegetable, it is grown underground and protected from sunlight, giving it is unique, creamy color. When selecting asparagus choose stalks that are odorless, dry and tight to ensure you have a fresh batch. Try cooking white asparagus tonight with this delicious recipe.

Peas are the most nutritious leguminous vegetable. The veggie can be eaten raw or cooked and is a nutritious source of vitamins A and K, folate and dietary fibers. When picking peas, select firm, bright green, medium sized pods that feel heavy in your hands. While there are many different ways to prepare peas, we love this light Sugar Snap Pea recipe.

Red leaf lettuce is an easy way to add color into your salads. The leafy vegetable is low in sodium and rich in manganese and vitamins A and K. Even better? The FDA has labeled it as a calorie and fat-free food. When selecting red leaf lettuce choose a head that is closely bunched with fresh leaves. Incorporate this veggie into your diet with this Red-Leaf Lettuce recipe with Shallot vinaigrette.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating an appropriate mix of produce to make sure you get the nutrients your body needs. Be sure your family is meeting these guidelines by eating whole fruits and vegetables that represent all the colors of the rainbow. What family-friendly fruit and veggie recipes do you make each spring?


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