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Live Well. Eat Well.

3 reasons to add summer color to your recipes

Hands on an African American family raising glasses in a toast over a table of summer foods

Gardens, farmers markets, and stores are benefiting from the wide variety of fruits and vegetables available during summer months. And summertime brings the best colors of produce!

Eating different colors helps meet nutrition needs

No fruit or vegetable has the same mix of vitamins and minerals. By eating different fruits and vegetables (in a variety of colors), we are more likely to meet our vitamin and mineral needs.

Eating with color makes eating enjoyable

Have you heard that old adage "we eat with our eyes"? Eating food is not just about nutrition; it's also about enjoyment. Adding many colors of fruits and vegetables to your recipes can be very pleasing to look at and make eating more fun. This is a great way to encourage kids to try new foods.

Eating the same food in different colors adds variety

You've probably seen tomatoes in shades of red, yellow, orange, and even purple. How about the orange and purple varieties of cauliflower? Or the yellow, purple, and white colored carrots? Often these color variations do not change the taste, so a purple carrot tastes mostly the same as an orange carrot. When you're shopping, pick up a color you don't normally buy, just to try it! Like I mentioned above, mixing up of colors can make meals enjoyable and fun.

Happy summer and enjoy a few recipes from Illinois Extension using in-season fruits and vegetables that add so much color.


Stuffed tomato on plate with sliced avocado

Tuna-Stuffed Tomato Melt | serves 4
print | watch video


Five chicken and shrimp with vegetables kebabs on grill

Citrus Kebabs | serves 8
print | watch video


Hand reaching out to grab a slice of blueberry cheesecake

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake | serves 12
print | watch video


Healthy Eats and Repeat
How much difference is there between canned and frozen foods? How should you cook venison? When is the best time to buy avocados? Get answers to these questions as well as other tips, tutorials and recipes for common kitchen foods and items with University of Illinois Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator Caitlin Mellendorf. Build your best life. Trust Extension to help.

Caitlin Mellendorf is an Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties in Central Illinois. She is a Registered Dietitian and her work focuses on helping community members gain the knowledge, skills and tools to live healthier, more nutritious lifestyles. This includes providing programs and answering questions about heart health, diabetes, food safety, food preservation, grocery shopping and cooking. You can reach Caitlin by email at or call 217.877.6042.