Summer is the season to eat in color. The season's fruits and vegetables are at their peak. Markets display ripe nectarines, plums, tomatoes and peppers. So the summer plate should be colorful too.

Eating in color is a healthier, as well as prettier, way to eat. The deeper the color of vegetables and fruits, the more likely they are to be high in nutrients and health-protective phytochemicals.

Nutritionists have encouraged people to sample the spectrum of color available this season. Doing so makes it more likely you will eat the five to nine daily servings of vegetables and fruit that health experts recommend. Colorful vegetables and fruit have been found to contain the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and the phytochemicals that are found only in plant foods all of which your body needs to stay healthy. The more colors on the plate, the healthier the meal.

Deep orange and bright yellow signal the presence of the phytochemical carotenoids, including beta carotene, powerful antioxidants thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Those colors can also indicate a rich source of vitamin C.

Bright pinks and deep reds add lycopene, a powerful antioxidant also believed to fight some cancers and heart disease. Green vegetables are rich in other phytochemicals. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, collards, kale and broccoli. The antioxidants found in these healthful greens and other cruciferous vegetables may fight cancer.

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Even some white food is good for you. Allilum vegetables such as onions, garlic, chives, scallions and leeks contain phytochemicals that have health-protective qualities.

This spinach and shrimp salad displays a mini-rainbow of colors: green, orange, gold, red and white, a feast for the eye and the body.

Spinach and Shrimp Salad with Citrus Dressing

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. large shrimp
  • 8 cups baby spinach leaves (or flat-leaf spinach), stems removed, rinsed and dried
  • 2 firm nectarines, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and halved
  • 4 very thin slices red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano, minced

Directions

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  1. Place shrimp in a large saucepan filled with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When shrimp have turned pink and curled, drain and peel them. Remove their veins. Halve each shrimp lengthwise and set aside.
  2. Arrange a quarter of the spinach in a bed on each of 4 dinner plates. (If using flat-leaf spinach, first tear it into bite-size pieces.) Arrange 4 nectarine slices on each bed of spinach. Cut pepper halves into strips. Cut strips into thirds. Arrange one-fourth on top of nectarine slices. Arrange one-fourth of the shrimp over the peppers. Separate onions into rings and arrange over shrimp.
  3. For the dressing, whisk orange and lime juices in a small bowl with turmeric and oregano. Whisk in oil.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon 2 tablespoons dressing over each salad. Sprinkle oregano on top and serve. (Salad can be assembled and dressing made up to 4 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Dress and garnish just before serving.)

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
160 calories
3 g. total fat
Less than 1 g. saturated fat
17 g. carbohydrate
16 g. protein
4 g. dietary fiber
184 mg. sodium.

Diabetic Exchanges:3 Vegetable, 1/2 Fruit, 2-1/2 Low-fat Meat


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