By Alice Henneman, MS, RDN
Nebraska Extension Educator
See “Red” on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year. Red fruits and vegetables contain many health-promoting phytochemicals including lycopene and anthocyanins. This color group may help promote:
- A lower risk of some cancers
- A healthy heart
- Memory health
- Urinary tract health
Red fruits and vegetables include: Tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato juice, red peppers, red onions, beets, red cabbage, kidney beans, apples, pink grapefruit, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, watermelon, raspberries, cranberries and pomegranates. Some “red” ideas for Valentine’s Day (or any day!) include:
– Heart-shaped pizza. Shape pizza dough into a heart. Or, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make individual hearts from pizza dough. Spread with your favorite tomato pizza sauce. Add your choice of toppings.
– Pasta with tomato sauce. For added fun, serve heart-shaped pasta — check with stores offering specialty pasta shapes or order some online. Check delivery time if you order online.
– Add a few of those tiny red-hot cinnamon heart candies to a popcorn snack
– Tossed salad with such red additions as red bell peppers, cherry or grape tomatoes
– Make a polka-dotted open-faced peanut butter sandwich. Cut bread into a heart shape, spread with peanut butter and dot with dried cranberries. Or, make a smiley face with the dried cranberries. Another idea would be to purchase some heart-shaped crackers, if available at your local store; substitute for the bread.
– Cole slaw made with such red foods as red peppers, red onions, and apples or made with red cabbage Cranberry sauce — use that bag of cranberries in your freezer that you bought when they were on sale
– Oatmeal topped with a heart shape, made with dried cranberries or dried cherries
– Raspberry smoothie — Put 3/4 to 1 cup vanilla-flavored yogurt in a blender. Add a few tablespoons of frozen raspberries at a time; blend until desired consistency. After mixing — if desired — blend in 1 or more teaspoons of sugar or no calorie sweetener to taste.
– Pink/red grapefruit half topped with a sprinkle of brown sugar
– Red grapes as a side dish to your sandwich for noontime nibbling