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Menu title: 5 A Day



5 A Day Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetable of the Month

BELL PEPPER!

Photo of assorted bell peppers

Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C. If you thought citrus fruits packed a powerful punch when it comes to being a good source of vitamin C, peppers have them beat. Green peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C by weight than citrus fruits, and this powerful punch of vitamin C is an antioxidant that may be effective in preventing certain cancers. Red bell peppers have three times as much vitamin C as the green varieties and are a good source of beta carotene.

 
Green Bell Pepper
Serving Size
½ cup (75g/2.7oz)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 20
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.14g 0%
  Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1.5mg 0%
Potassium 132mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 1%
  Dietary Fiber 1.34g 3%
  Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A  5%
Vitamin C 112%
Red Bell Pepper
Vitamin A  47%
Vitamin C 236%
Yellow Bell Pepper
Vitamin A  2%
Vitamin C 230%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
   

Varieties

Bell peppers can be found in a rainbow of colors and can vary in flavor. The variety of the pepper plant and the stage of the ripeness determine the flavor and color of each pepper. For example, a red bell pepper is simply a mature green bell pepper. As a bell pepper ages, its flavor becomes sweeter and milder. Red bell peppers contain eleven times more beta carotene than green bell peppers.

Selection

Bell peppers are available and are in good supply all year, but they are more plentiful and less expensive during the summer months. Fresh peppers come in variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, but when selecting them, they all follow the same guidelines. Their skin should be firm without any wrinkles, and the stem should be fresh and green. They should feel heavy for their size. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, slashes or black spots.

Storage

Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for about a week. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red ones.


 

Make Bell Peppers Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

It is easy to make bell peppers part of your 5 A Day Plan.

  • Use them to create colorful and exciting meals by adding a mixture of different colored sliced or chopped peppers to your favorite salads, pastas, and Chinese or Mexican dishes.
  • They can be used as a colorful garnish.
  • Include sliced peppers on your next veggie tray.
  • Carve out peppers and stuff them with rice or use them as colorful containers for dips or other edible items.

Recipes

Roasted Peppers
To add a delightfully smoky flavor to pasta dishes, pizza, and brochette, bell peppers can be grilled on a barbecue grill, over the flame of a gas range burner, or broiled in the oven.

To prepare peppers, cut a small slit near the stem of each pepper. If grilling, secure pepper to a long-handled fork and hold over flame turning pepper until skin becomes blackened. If using an oven, broil peppers 4 inches away from heating element. After skin has blackened, immediately place peppers in a zip-lock bag for 15 minutes to allow them to steam. Remove pepper from bag and scrape the skin off using a table knife. Remove stem, core, and remove seed from pepper.

Photos of yellow, green, and red bell peppers

Turkey-Apple Gyros
Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

1 medium golden delicious apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp olive oil
8 ounces cooked turkey breast, cut into thin strips
6 whole-wheat pita bread rounds, lightly toasted
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 garlic clove minced

Toss apple with lemon juice; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, cook onion and peppers in hot oil stirring frequently until crisp-tender. Stir in turkey; cook and stir until heated through. Stir in apple mixture. Add garlic to yogurt and mix. Fold pitas in half and fill with turkey mixture. Drizzle with yogurt mixture.

Nutritional Analysis per serving: Calories 194, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0.7g, Carbohydrates 35g, Protein 9g, Cholesterol 7mg, Fiber 1g, Sodium 192mg, Carbohydrates 67%, Protein 18%, Fat: 15%

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
Photo of stuffed red peppersMakes 8 Servings.

Ingredients

4 red or green bell peppers
1 pint or 2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a large shallow baking pan. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Arrange peppers cut sides up in baking pan and lightly oil cut edges of stems. Halve cherry tomatoes and chop onion and basil. Finely chop garlic. In a bowl toss tomatoes, onion, basil, garlic, 2 tbsp. oil, salt and pepper to taste. Divide mixture among peppers and roast in upper third of oven until peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per serving: Calories 41, Total Fat 1.4g, Saturated Fat 0.3g, Carbohydrates 7g, Protein 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 78mg, Carbohydrates 63%, Protein 10%, Fat 27%


 



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This page last updated November 23, 2002

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity