Eat the rainbow: Opt for orange


Colorful fruits and vegetables paint beautiful images of health and wellness. The compounds that give each color its rich hue contain a unique blend of nutrients that protect us from certain diseases and keep our body’s working in tip-top shape.

Throughout the day, aim to eat a rainbow of colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. This occasional blog series will discuss what each color has to offer and how you can incorporate more of these colorful foods into your routines. We’ve already reached for red, so now let’s opt for orange!

Orange fruits and vegetables are packed with disease-fighting, health-boosting nutrients. Opt for orange today! #eattherainbow #saslife Click To Tweet

C is for Carotenoids

Orange fruits and vegetables get their energetic hues largely from carotenoids (notably alpha- and beta-carotene). These compounds are powerful antioxidants and have been shown to be beneficial for skin, eye, reproductive and immune health. Orange-colored foods are also high in vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber and other important phytonutrients and bioflavonoids.

Here’s a small sample of just how powerful these foods can be:

Orange You Glad to See Me?

The color orange conveys energy, enthusiasm and balance. It is less intense than red, calmed by the happiness of yellow.

As you add some excitement to your plate with orange fruits and vegetables, don’t forget to eat the skins whenever possible – that’s where a lot of those disease-fighting, health-boosting nutrients live! Also, cooking can help liberate the carotenoids, which means you’ll absorb more of their powerful properties, and tossing in a little healthy fat like olive oil, nuts or seeds will ensure those nutrients get shuttled where they’re supposed to.

Peruse the list below to open up your appetite for orange and try some new ones that aren’t typically in your rotation. Remember, our bodies thrive on variety! (Hint: While most of these are delicious eaten raw, click on the table for links to some recipe inspiration.)

Moroccan Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato Tagine

Makes 4 servings
Recipe adapted from The Roasted Root

If you’re looking for ways to up your intake of orange fruits and veggies, this recipe has you covered!

1-2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium sweet potato, chopped into ½” cubes (about 2 cups)
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½” cubes (about 3 cups)
¾ cup vegetable broth, divided
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup dried apricots, chopped


  1. Add oil to a skillet (or tagine if you have one) and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté onion and sweet potato for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add butternut squash and stir.
  4. Add ¼ cup vegetable broth, all the spices and salt. Stir, cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove lid add remaining ½ cup vegetable broth, lemon juice and dried apricots.
  6. Cook for 5-8 more minutes until sweet potatoes and butternut squash are soft but not mushy.


About Author

Ashley Bailey, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP


Ashley is a Nutritionist at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner, Certified Biofeedback Instructor and also has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys crafting, cooking, walking and spending as much time as possible at the beach. Follow @abaileyRD on Twitter.

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