Fruits and Veggies You Should Try (cont.)

These bright yellow, small round squash pieces are easily sliced or cubed. Use them in any recipes calling for zucchini.

Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Look for squash that are plump and feel heavy for their size, with glossy and tender skin.
Best way to store: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to a week.
Nutritional attributes: One cup contains 38% Daily Value for vitamin C.
Eating/cooking tips: Colorful slices or wedges make great plate garnishes or a great snack. Segments add color and flavor to fruit salads or green salads.

7. Sugar Snap Peas

These are one of my favorite raw veggie snack foods. They are crunchy and fresh-tasting, easy to eat straight from the refrigerator.

Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Select firm, plump, bright-green pods.
Best way to store: Keep refrigerated in a plastic bag and use within a few days.
Nutritional attributes: 1 cup contains 4 grams fiber, 140% Daily Value for vitamin C, 16% for iron.
Eating/cooking tips: You can eat the entire pod. These are great in lunches (just put raw sugar snap peas in a sandwich bag), or add them to a vegetable platter and serve with light dip. They taste good cooked, too, so you can use them in your favorite stir-fry recipe.

8. Radicchio

This gorgeous green is a flavorful way to add color to your salad.

Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Pick crisp heads with fully colored leaves (with white ribs) and no brown spots. They come in different color variations; pink, red, and green, and burgundy-red.
Best way to store: Keep in refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week.
Nutritional attributes: 10 leaves contain 10% Daily Value for vitamin C.
Eating/cooking tips: Shred it and mix it in with other salad greens, or serve it sauteed or cooked in soups, casseroles, or side dishes.

9. Swiss Chard

This leafy green is a member of the beet family. The leaves have a beet-like flavor, especially when eaten raw.

Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: This leafy green is sold in bunches. Pick a bunch with crisp stalks and glossy leaves.
Best way to store: Store in the vegetable crisper (in a bag) and use within a few days.
Nutritional attributes: 1 cup contains 60% Daily Value for vitamin A, 45% for vitamin C, 4% for calcium, and 8% for iron.
Eating/cooking tips: Use in place of spinach in recipes. Or, cook as you would any leafy green vegetable.

10. Okra

Although it's commonly cooked as a vegetable in the South, okra is rather uncommon to people living in other regions. It's also available sliced in the frozen section.

Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Look for bright-colored pods with no spotting or browning.
Best way to store: Store in a paper bag in the vegetable crisper. Use within a few days.
Nutritional attributes: 6 pods contain 10% Daily Value for vitamin A, 20% for vitamin C, and 6% for calcium.
Eating/cooking tips: Okra can be steamed, sauteed, oven-fried, or pickled. Use it in soups, salads, and casseroles, or as a side dish or appetizer. Don't cook it in iron, copper, or brass pans -- their chemical composition will turn okra black.

Righteous Recipes

Either of these dishes is a delicious way to introduce some new produce into your diet.

Swiss Chard Egg-White Omelet

Journal as: 1 egg + 1 ounce low-fat cheese + 1 cup vegetables without added fat.

1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
4 cups chopped green or red Swiss chard, packed (include stems if desired)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco), optional
1 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon chopped green onions or sweet onion

  • Start heating an 11-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to skillet and add the Swiss chard and garlic. Saute chard, stirring often, until tender (about three minutes). Season with salt, pepper, and pepper sauce, if desired. Remove mixture to plate.
  • Add egg substitute, cheddar cheese, and onions to a 4-cup measure and stir to blend.
  • Begin heating the 11-inch skillet over high heat, and coat the pan well with canola cooking spray. When hot, pour in half the egg substitute mixture and spread over bottom of pan. After a minute, tilt the pan to let any liquid in the middle flow to the edges of the pan. When underside is nicely browned, carefully flip omelet over to brown the other side. Spoon half the Swiss chard mixture over half of the top of the omelet. When underside is nicely brown (about two minutes), fold omelet and slide onto plate.
  • Repeat step No. 3 with remaining egg and chard mixtures.

Yield: 2 servings

Per serving (not included any added salt): 185 calories, 21 g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 525 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 39%.

Star Fruit With Quick Orange-Raspberry Sauce

4 star fruit (you can substitute 4 regular or Asian pears, or any similar fresh fruit)

Raspberry sauce:
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange juice
Sugar or Splenda to taste

  • Slice star fruit widthwise to make slices in the shape of stars (if using pears, cut in quarters, remove core, then cut each quarter into several slices).
  • For sauce, add raspberries, orange marmalade, and orange juice to food processor or blender; pulse briefly to blend well. Taste the sauce, and add a pinch or two of Splenda or granulated sugar to desired flavor. Strain mixture to remove the seeds and any orange peel. Refrigerate sauce in covered container until ready to serve.
  • Arrange fresh fruit evenly on four dessert plates. Drizzle some of the raspberry-orange sauce over each portion.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 169 calories, 1.5 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7.5 g fiber, 3 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 6%.

SOURCES: American Institute for Cancer Research Nutrition News, Jan. 24, 2005. Journal of Nutrition, March 2005. International Journal of Cancer, May 1, 2005. Web site, Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc.

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