If you are controlling your weight, eat foods that are nutrient-rich but low in calories. A prime example is the sweet bell pepper.
Even though they only have about 32 calories for an entire pepper, they provide vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin K and fiber. They are also good sources of antioxidants like lycopene, which may reduce cancer risk and lutein and zeaxanthins, which may help prevent macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in older adults.
Bell peppers come in a variety of colors including green, red, purple, yellow and orange. There are even varieties that are white, blue or brown. Green bell peppers tend to be less sweet than the other colors.
Strips of raw bell peppers are a low calorie snack substitute for people who crave crunchy foods like chips or crackers. Select peppers with a dark color, taunt skin and no blemishes or bruises.
Store the unwashed pepper for up to a week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Wash them right before using.
Recipe: 20-Minute Chicken Creole
Louisiana is famous for its use of bell peppers in its recipes. Here is a quick Chicken Creole that you can make in less than a half hour. We used red bell peppers in this dish.
- 4 medium chicken boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips*
- 14 ounce can tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup low-sodium chili sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chopped bell pepper (1 large)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried crushed basil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Spray a deep skillet with nonstick spray.
- Preheat pan over high heat.
- Cook chicken in hot skillet, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Reduce heat.
- Add tomatoes and their juice, low-sodium chili sauce, green pepper, celery, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, crushed red pepper and salt.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve over hot, cooked rice or whole-wheat pasta.
Calories: 255 calories, carbohydrate: 16 grams, protein: 31 grams, fat: 3 grams, cholesterol: 100 milligrams, fiber: 2 grams, sodium: 465 milligrams