Yellow is the color of a bright sun and a beautiful daffodil. It’s been associated with happiness, freshness, creativity and optimism. If you ask most people to think of a yellow food, they’ll likely say bananas. And while bananas are lovely (despite what those internet pop ups say about not eating them), there’s lots of other yellow produce to explore.
This time of year, most farmer’s markets will have plenty of delicata or yellow straight neck squash to share. While squash is known as “winter or summer squash”, both are readily available most seasons of the year. Delicata squash is a good source of vitamin C and the B vitamin riboflavin in addition to fiber and contains roughly 30 calories in a half a squash. Straight neck squash has better taste and texture when it’s harvested at about 5-6 inches. It’s a good source of vitamin C and manganese. It can be sautéed and used in stir fries or cooked and added to pasta dishes or Mexican cuisine. Spaghetti squash is also a bright yellow color and as the name states, resembles spaghetti once cooked and “combed” with a fork. This is a popular lower carb option for those watching calories or carbohydrates. Spaghetti squash contains small amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, B vitamins and fiber.
In addition to various squash, yellow peppers also add color, flavor, texture and nutrients to a variety of dishes. They can be added to your favorite quiche, sautéed with onions for fajitas or pasta dishes or eaten raw with a Greek yogurt or bean dip. Similar to red bell peppers, yellow peppers contain more vitamin C. (Yellow and orange peppers are a separate variety. Green peppers will gradually turn red on the plant but not yellow or orange.) Varieties of mini peppers are available for snacking or meal prep.
Onions are another great yellow vegetable to include in your diet. Onions contain a flavonoid (plant chemical) called quercetin (also found in apples), that has been linked with reduction of cancer. 1 Onions are also a source of inulin, a type of pro-biotic fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in your bowel. Onions are seriously versatile- they can be added raw to salads, salsas or sandwiches or cooked an included in soup, stew, casseroles, grain dishes and more. 2
When it comes to yellow fruits, nothing beats fresh peaches! There are over 300 varieties of peaches, including freestone, clingstone and semi-free stone peaches. Clingstone peaches “cling” to the pit while the flesh of free stone peaches is easily pulled away from the pit. Peaches provide beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium and fiber and can be included for breakfast over cereal, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt or as a snack between meals with a dash of cinnamon. Try them grilled or used in a compote over chicken or fish for something delightfully different.
If life gives you lemons, use them! While lemons are not eaten solo, they can be used in a variety of ways. Lemon juice makes an excellent salad dressing or marinade while the zest is great for vegetables, muffins, bread or other dishes. Lemons, like other citrus fruit, provide a nice dose of vitamin C. Add them to water or iced tea to freshen things up.
How can we not include luscious pineapple when speaking about yellow? This tropical fruit is not only a source of fiber, it provides just 82 calories in a 1 cup serving. Pineapple is a source of B vitamins as well as potassium. It can be served solo, tossed into a fruit salad, grilled or used in a salsa with cilantro and onions. Be sure to cut out the woody core of the pineapple and cut close to the skin to get the most of this delightful fruit.
Yellow corn is another favorite! There is nothing like corn on the cob in the summer and it is so easy to microwave, steam, or grill. Best of all, frozen corn is one of the vegetables that does not suffer from the freezing process. Frozen corn can be served as a side dish, made into salsa, or it can be the star ingredient of corn chowder. While corn might get a bad rap because of its sugar used in soft drinks, it is a stellar vegetable that is high in fiber and rich in valuable B vitamins. It also has many essential minerals and it is full of antioxidants like carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. It is a starchy vegetable so a 1/2 cup counts as one 15 g carbohydrate serving for those who count.
Hopefully this gives you many great ideas to share with your employees, clients, patients, and students.
- Brito AF, Ribeiro M, Abrantes AM1, Pires AS, Teixo RJ, Tralhão JG, Botelho MF. Quercetin in Cancer Treatment, Alone or in Combination with Conventional Therapeutics? Curr Med Chem. 2015;22(26):3025-39.
- Moshfegh AJ1, Friday JE, Goldman JP, Ahuja JK. Presence of inulin and oligofructose in the diets of Americans. J Nutr.1999 Jul;129(7 Suppl):1407S-11S. doi: 10.1093/jn/129.7.1407S.
Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD