Colorful Recipes to Boost Your Health

Paint your plate with these vibrant, healthy recipes from Frances Largeman-Roth, RD.

Updated on December 7, 2022

image full of colorful, fresh vegetables
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For Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, dinner time for her kids once meant beige pasta and chicken dishes. “I found myself offering a slate of foods that were bland and colorless,” she says. “I was bored with what we were eating and I knew I had to be proactive about fixing the problem.”

She knew that naturally colorful foods are key to good nutrition; the challenge was getting her kids to eat them. When her daughter Willa came home from school excited about the color wheel, Largeman-Roth had an idea. What if instead of introducing veggies to her kids by name, she presented them based on color? Her instinct was right, and it inspired the following recipes from her cookbook, Eating in Color.

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Berry-Nectarine Trifle

As far back as Roman times, the color red has served as a symbol of power. The same could be said of red foods, including raspberries, red peppers, and tomatoes. They’re loaded with antioxidants that may help protect against certain diseases, including some cancers. In particular, the antioxidant lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red color, may help prevent heart disease and macular degeneration. 

The Berry-Nectarine Trifle, full of bright red raspberries and juicy nectarines, contains vitamin C, folate (an important B vitamin), and compounds that work to combat metabolic syndrome. (Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions—including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels—that combine to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.) Bonus: A serving is less than 350 calories.

toasted bread crisps wth crab meat
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Corn and Basil Crab Toasts

If you’re looking to slim down and get healthy, make green your go-to color. Green fruits, veggies, and herbs are loaded with a wide range of important vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens are especially healthy and low in calories. Raw spinach has just 7 calories per cup!

This easy yet company-worthy recipe for Corn and Basil Crab Toasts has two green ingredients. Although avocados have gotten a bad rap for being relatively high in fat, their monounsaturated fats are the healthy kind. Plus, avocados have antioxidants that may help prevent certain cancers. Fresh basil also has health-boosting antioxidants.

Twice Baked Blue Potatoes
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Twice-Baked Blues

Blue and purple fruits and veggies get their gorgeous, jewel-toned hues from anthocyanins, plant pigments that may help protect against cancer, urinary tract infections, and heart disease. Foods in this color family include blueberries, eggplants, and blue or purple potatoes. (Yes, potatoes come in these colors! And they can lower blood pressure.) 

If you thought potatoes couldn’t be a part of a healthy, low-calorie eating plan, Largeman-Roth’s recipe for Twice-Baked Blues will have you thinking again. At just 105 calories for two, you can indulge in the dish's rich flavors and textures.

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National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What Is Metabolic Syndrome? Last updated on May 18, 2022.

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