What do you think of when you think of 4th of July food?
The first foods that come to my mind are burgers, cakes, pies, and bomb-pop popsicles. So many of the foods we associate with Fourth of July weekend full of sugar and lack important nutrients. But red, white and blue doesn’t have to mean cherry pie, white potato salad and blue frosting on cupcakes.
In fact, naturally red, white and blue foods such as tomatoes, cauliflower and blueberries have MANY health benefits. How can we bring some of these better for you patriotic foods to the table this week and weekend?
Some benefits of naturally red foods:
- Protecting the body against heart disease.
- Shown to lower blood pressure.
- Associated with lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol in the body.
- Shown to support joint tissue for those with arthritis.
Examples of red foods include
- Red Bell Peppers
Some benefits of white foods:
- They contain fiber which can help reduce risk of digestion and gut issues.
- Can help reduce LDL bad cholesterol. Place a fruit bowl on your counter
- Contain folate and Vitamin A and B which help cell growth.
Healthy naturally white foods:
Benefits of blue/purple foods:
- Contain anthocyanins which are antioxidants that help defend your cells against harm.
- May help prevent chronic illness such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Have been shown to help in preventing brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
- Help boost the immune system and quicker recovery.
- Can help aid in digestive issues.
Healthy naturally blue foods:
- Red Onion
Upgrade from some of the classic Fourth of July dishes and invite these healthy and preventative colors to the table this year! Don’t know where to begin? Try this make-ahead Red, White and Blue Berry Baked Oatmeal.
Red White and Blue Berry Baked Oatmeal
- 2 2/3 cups oats
- 1 Tbsp chia seed optional
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple sauce or mashed banana
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk of choice non-dairy, skim or other favorite work well
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups frozen berries do not thaw
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with cooking oil spray.
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes or until center is set. If you'd like more of a bar-like consistency, bake for 35 minutes.