Eating By Color: Orange

Throughout the day you should have a rainbow of colors --- red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and white. Each color is rich in specific nutrients that help make a well-balanced diet. In this series we’ll tell you why each color is important and with Halloween around the corner, we thought it was most appropriate to start with orange.
Related To:

Carrot Salad; Bobby Flay

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Throughout the day you should eat a rainbow of foods -- red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and white. Each color is rich in specific nutrients that help make a well-balanced diet. In this series we’ll tell you why each color is important, and with Halloween around the corner, we thought it was most appropriate to start with orange. Find out how to get some on your plate every day.

What Orange Foods Have to Offer

What gives most foods their orange hue is the antioxidant beta-carotene, which also helps support healthy skin, hair and vision. Most folks typically fall short when it comes to beta-carotene in their diet, so it’s important to make sure you have some orange on your plate each day. The yellowish color found in citrus fruit doesn’t contain much beta-carotene, but is chock-full of another antioxidant, vitamin C which also helps fight infection. Here are 5 must-eat orange fruits and veggies, plus recipes to try.

Pumpkin

Don’t worry if you can’t go pumpkin picking this season; many recipes call for the canned stuff. Make sure to choose canned pumpkin and not the highly-sweetened canned pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkins contain the antioxidant lutein, which help give you healthy skin and eyes.

Apricots

This orange fruit is a good source of potassium and fiber. Fresh ones make for an easy on-the-go snack. Apricot season runs from May to July, but you can use dried apricots year-round for trail mix or these Apricot-Oat Bars.

Cantaloupe

Besides being an excellent source of both vitamin A and C, cantaloupe is also a good source of folate. One-quarter of a medium melon contains 50 calories and can be added to salads or wrapped in a little prosciutto.

Carrots

Carrots are a low calorie veggie -- a medium one has just 30 calories!  Although you may have only seen orange carrots, they can also be found in purple, white and yellow. Dip carrots in hummus or one of these smarter dips or make an easy carrot salad, no mayo needed.

Recipe: Carrot Salad
Mangoes

Did you know that mangoes are the most widely consumed fruit in the world? With a half a fruit providing 70 calories of goodness, make mangoes part of your healthy diet.

Recipe: Mango Salsa
Oranges

This bright yellow-orange fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber. They also contain an antioxidant called cryptoxanthins, which helps protect cells from damage. One of Dana’s favorite varieties of orange are blood oranges—they make a mean cocktail.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are the oldest veggie on record, and they definitely deserve their place at the table. One medium baked potato provides 105 calories, tons of vitamins A and C and a good amount of potassium. There are so many ways to enjoy this fall favorite, but this recipe is the most requested in my house.

TELL US: How do you get your daily dose of orange?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Keep Reading

Next Up

The Ultimate Pumpkin Soup — Fall Fest

Try Rachael Ray's Pumpkin Soup With Chili Cran-Apple Relish for a scrumptious meal in less than 45 minutes.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

This dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan curry soup is made creamy with coconut milk and pureed white beans instead of cream or yogurt.

In Season: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are an autumn favorite for Americans. In fact, the U.S. is one of the top producers of pumpkins in the world. Here are ways to cook them and ideas for dishes to try.

Put These On Your Plate: 10 Holiday Must-Haves

There's no lack of choices at Thanksgiving, but certain seasonal foods are busting with nutrients and should take top priority on your plate. If you're going to indulge, why not load up on the good-for-you stuff? Here's our list of top 10 picks for your plate.

The Ultimate Pumpkin Cheesecake — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Food Network Magazine couldn't get the secret recipe for the Cheesecake Factory's famous Pumpkin Cheesecake, so they made their own creamy, decadent version. Get the recipe.

Orange Is the New Orange. Nutritionally, That Is.

There are literally hundreds of different carotenoid compounds to be found in orange fruits and vegetables, so it pays to try them all.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

Pumpkin scones get lightened up in this cookbook delivering great flavor and low calorie recipes

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Might Be Here Sooner Than You Think

The release date is said to be crazy-early this year.

Prepare for the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2015

If you plan on making pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, don’t wait till the last minute to buy the canned pumpkin — or you may find yourself facing an empty supermarket shelf.