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How purple, blue foods make it deliciously easy to eat healthy

June 14, 2011

For Starkville Daily News

If there’s one rule to remember about healthy eating, it’s to eat your colors. Colorful fruits and vegetables offer vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant nutrients for health. And while it’s important to explore the entire culinary rainbow, you may want to pay more attention to the purples and blues.
According to a new analysis of the diets of more than 15,000 children and adults, consuming purple/blue foods, such as Concord grapes and 100 percent juice made with Concord grapes, may help children and adults get more of the nutrients they need each day and have overall healthier diets. In general, children and adults who consumed purple and blue produce ate more fruit and had healthier diets compared to non-purple/blue produce eaters. But only three percent of American’s fruit and vegetable intake is from the purple/blue category, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
The report, published in the May/June 2011 issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, also found that consumption of purple and blue produce among adults was associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of indicators that may predict risk for certain health issues like cardiovascular disease.
So what are some easy ways that you can get more purple and blue in your diet?
u Drink it up - Four ounces of Welch’s 100 percent Grape Juice made with Concord grapes offers a full serving (or a 1/2 cup) of fruit.
u Eat it fresh -Enjoy a blackberry smoothie with breakfast. Toss up a salad that includes raisins, or purple cabbage. Snack on some figs or purple grapes. Or try this recipe for Roasted Fennel, Pear and Arugula Salad with Balsamic-Grape Vinaigrette.
u Cook it fast - Make a quick stir fry with purple cabbage and purple peppers. Try some grilled eggplant, purple endive or purple asparagus. Roast some purple potatoes tossed with olive oil and herbs as a simple side dish.

Roasted Fennel, Pear and Arugula Salad with Balsamic-Grape Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1/2 cup Welch’s 100 percent Grape Juice made with Concord grapes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup kefir plain lowfat yogurt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lime ponzu sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
5 cups baby arugula; washed and dried
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pear, cored and quartered
1 fennel bulb, cored and quartered
1 small red onion; halved and sliced
1 tablespoon chia seeds
u Preheat oven to 400°F.
u Make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients for dressing in a bowl. Set aside.
u In a small, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
u Uncover, turn fennel over. Add pears, cut side up, and bake for another 15 minutes or until fennel is tender. Transfer to a plate.
u Thinly slice fennel and dice pears.
u Combine arugula and onion in a large bowl. Add fennel and pears and toss gently.
u Toss salad with half of the dressing.
u Sprinkle with chia seeds and serve with additional dressing on the side.
Recipe by Diane Henderiks, R.D., Personal Chef/Culinary Nutritionist.

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