Eat More Fruits and Veggies with the 5 a Day Program

It's essential to get a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet every day! Why? Because colorful fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body uses to stay healthy and energetic, help maintain a healthy weight, protect against the effects of aging, and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Low-fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, diseases associated with many factors. Here are some recipes to make eating more veggies and fruits easy, tasteful and healthful!

GRILLED EGGPLANT TOMATO SANDWICHES
1 medium Italian eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil
8 (1/2 inch) slices, crusty bread
4 ripe, medium tomatoes
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese (optional)
  1. Do not peel eggplant. Remove end and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle both sides with salt and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Thoroughly rinse slices to remove all salt and drain on absorbent paper.
  2. Combine olive oil and garlic and lightly brush each slice. Grill over MEDIUM HIGH heat on gas grill or broil under broiler. When soft, remove immediately and sprinkle with basil. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes into 1/3 inch thick slices and season with black pepper.
  3. Arrange tomatoes and eggplant on 4 slices of bread. Season with pepper and add crumbled Feta cheese, if desired. Top with second slice of bread and serve immediately.
BEANS AND GREENS SOUP
1 pound pinto beans, sorted, washed and soaked in water for 12 hours or overnight
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring
4 cups finely chopped frozen kale, collards or mustard greens, cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Pepper, to taste
2 cups diced fresh tomato
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
  1. Drain soaked beans and place in a heavy, deep, non-aluminum pan. Add garlic, onion, cumin seed, red pepper flakes and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil and lower to simmer and cook, covered, about 1- 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as needed. Stir often and cook until beans are tender.
  2. Using about half the bean mixture, carefully purée in blender. Return to pot with other beans. Add cilantro and smoke flavoring. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, covered. If necessary, add water or low sodium chicken broth to thin soup.
  3. Cook greens as directed on package. Toss greens with olive oil and stir into soup with salt and vinegar to taste.
  4. To serve, season with ground pepper. Spoon hot soup into bowls and top with 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes and a tablespoon of yogurt.
MUSHROOM BRUSCHETTA
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons dried leaf oregano, crushed
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
1 loaf or 16 1/2-inch thick slices of Italian or French bread
Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  1. Heat oil, pepper and curry powder in deep skillet over MEDIUM- HIGH heat. Add mushrooms, onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and oregano. Mix well, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove lid, lower heat and continue to cook, stirring often until mushroom mixture is somewhat dry in texture.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in vinegar and chopped parsley. Adjust seasonings. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Toast bread until golden. While toast is still warm, rub cut garlic on one side of each slice. If desired, drizzle with olive oil. Place warm bruschetta around mushroom topping and serve immediately.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies the Color Way!
Eat all your colors every day to get the variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals you need to stay healthy. Include BLUE/PURPLE in your low-fat diet to help maintain: A lower risk of some cancers, urinary tract health, memory function, healthy aging. Blue/purple fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of health-promoting phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and phenolics, currently being studied for their potential antioxidant and anti-aging benefits. Get a variety of blue/purple every day with foods such as: Blackberries, Blueberries, Black Currants, Dried Plums, Elderberries, Purple Figs, Purple Grapes, Plums, Raisins, Purple Asparagus, Purple Carrots, Eggplant, Purple Belgian Endive, Purple Peppers, Purple Potatoes, Black Salsify.

Include GREEN in your low-fat diet to help maintain: Vision health, lower risk of some cancers, strong bones and teeth. Green vegetables contain varying amounts of phytochemicals such as lutein and indoles, which interest researchers because of their potential antioxidant, health promoting benefits. Go green every day with a variety of fruits and vegetables like these: Avocados, Green Apples, Green Grapes, Honeydew, Kiwifruit, Limes, Green Pears, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Brussels Sprouts, Chinese Cabbage, Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Celery, Chayote Squash, Cucumbers, Endive, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Green Onion, Okra, Peas, Green Pepper, Snow Peas, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas, Zucchini.

Including WHITE in your low-fat diet helps maintain: Heart health, Cholesterol levels that are already healthy and lowered risk of some cancers. Low-fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, diseases associated with many factors. White, tan and brown fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of phytochemicals of interest to scientists. These include allicin, found in garlic and the onion family. Get all the health benefits of white by including a variety of foods such as: Bananas, Dates, White Nectarines, White Peaches, Brown Pears, Cauliflower, Garlic, Ginger, Jicama, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, White Potatoes, Shallots, Turnips.

Including YELLOW/ORANGE in your low-fat diet helps maintain: A lower risk of some cancers, a healthy heart, vision health and a healthy immune system. Low-fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, diseases associated with many factors.

Yellow/orange fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, two classes of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their health-promoting potential. Every day, include a variety of yellow/orange foods like these: Yellow Apples, Apricots, Cantaloupe, Yellow Figs, Grapefruit, Golden Kiwifruit, Lemons, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Yellow Pears, Persimmons, Pineapples, Tangerines, Yellow Watermelon, Yellow Beets Butternut Squash, Carrots, Yellow Peppers, Yellow Potatoes, Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Yellow Summer Squash, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Yellow Tomatoes Squash.

Include RED in your low-fat diet to help maintain: A healthy heart, memory function, a lower risk of some cancers, urinary tract health. Specific phytochemicals in the red group that are being studied for their health-promoting properties include lycopene and anthocyanins. Get a variety of red every day by eating fruits and vegetables such as: Red Apples, Blood Oranges, Cherries, Cranberries, Red Grapes, Pink/Red Grapefruit, Red Pears, Pomegranates, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon, Beets, Red Cabbage, Red Peppers, Radishes, Radicchio, Red Onions, Red Potatoes, Rhubarb, Tomatoes.

To help children learn eat more fruits and vegetables, the “Five a Day” program has developed a coloring book kit for children along with Dole Food Company and Crayola. “There’s a Rainbow on My Plate” will be introduced to 12,000 elementary school programs and 3,000 supermarkets across the country. The kit features a coloring book with cartoon characters depicting each of the five fruit and vegetable food color groups, a set of crayola crayons and “graduation” certificate.

For more info on The Five a Day The Color Way program or “There’s a Rainbow in My Plate” educational program for children, please visit the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s website at www. 5Aday.com or call 302-235-ADAY (2329). To learn more about produce, please visit www.aboutproduce.com.