Eat foods that are orange each day to ensure that you are consuming a high level of vitamin C and other essential nutrients specific to orange foods. Eating naturally orange foods, along with a rainbow of others carries nutritional benefits and ensures a well-balanced diet. An ideal recipe is the chocolate orange smoothie you'll find at the bottom of this post.
Eating foods that are orange each day ensures a balanced array of nutrients that are specific to orange foods.
Eating the rainbow is a great way to ensure your body gets a broad array of essential nutrients. In my how to eat the rainbow post, I explain the benefits of eating red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and white foods each day. I also have for you a free rainbow food chart that is useful inspiration to eat each color daily.
Why Orange Foods Are Healthy
Orange colored foods - we are talking fruits and vegetables - get their bright color from the antioxidant beta-carotene, a vital antioxidant that supports healthy skin, hair and vision. If you find you are craving orange foods, it's most likely because you need more vitamin C. This color also indicates high levels of vitamin A, perfect for vision and immunity, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, and immune-boosting phytonutrient xanthophylls. Read on for a list of orange foods, fruits and veggies, to incorporate into your diet, along with a few useful recipes and orange food ideas.
A List of Common Orange Foods
Apricots, small and round with a velvety orange skin, more tart in flavor than peaches, offering a good dose of vitamin A and vitamin C. Popular types include moorpark and tilton. Perfect to eat on their own, or in a fruit platter or fruit smoothie.
Orange beets, called golden beets, have a sweeter taste compared to their red counterparts. Not commonly found, but delicious when used in the way you would red beets. Golden beets are high in folate, manganese, and beta-carotene, as well as potassium, copper, and fiber and iron.
Bell Pepper (orange)
Crisp and sweet, orange bell peppers, with their blocky shape and bright color, are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, promoting overall health. Try them in any cold salad recipe including my chickpea cucumber salad. Popular types include california wonder and orange sun.
This squash, with its pear-shaped body and smooth, tan skin, has a nutty, sweet taste. It's rich in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Not only is butternut squash great as a vegetable in main entrees, but it's also awesome in desserts, including my 2-ingredient butternut squash fudge. Popular types include waltham and butterbush.
This soft sweet melon is high in vitamin A and C, magnesium, potassium and folate. A cup contains only 50 calories. In 2023, there were a rash of recalls from common grocery store pre-cut fruits because they were contaminated in the cutting process, but that is not reflective of a problem with the melon itself - just buy a whole melon and cut it yourself to ensure cleanliness. Popular types include athena and hales best jumbo.
Carrots, with their long, slender form and bright orange color, are crisp and mildly sweet, rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A for eye health. Eat carrots on their own or add raw to smoothies or cook them and add them to things like my shiitake mushroom stir fry or my chickpea cucumber salad. Popular types include imperator and danvers.
Orange cauliflower is a variety that contains higher levels of beta-carotene, giving it a vibrant orange color. Popular types: cheddar and sunset.
These small citrus fruits, resembling mini oranges, are sweet and easy to peel, offering a dose of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Use them in any recipe that uses oranges including my gingerbread oatmeal and my citrus smoothie. Popular types include marisol and fina.
You are more familiar with yellow and white corn, but there is an orange corn, and it is considered higher in beta-carotene than the other types which makes sense considering the bright orange color. Popular types include golden bantam, peaches and cream, dziekuje from Argentina, and otto file from Italy.
Habaneros are a very hot chili pepper used in many different dishes, both savory and sweet. They are high in vitamin C and A, potassium, iron and calcium. Their spicy levels can also assist in digestion.
Kumquats, tiny and oval with a thin, edible skin, have a unique sweet and tart flavor. They're a good source of vitamin C. Popular types include nagami and marumi.
Mangos, with their oval shape and vibrant orange skin, are tropical fruits with a juicy, sweet flavor, providing vitamin C and A, along with antioxidants. Try it in a fruit platter in my mango coconut overnight oats or use it as a fruity thickener in most smoothies. Popular types include ataulfo and alphonso.
Nectarines, similar in appearance to peaches but with smooth skin, are juicy and sweet, providing vitamin C and dietary fiber for digestive health. Popular types include fantasia and independence.
Yellow onions are high in a viricide called allicin which actually supports digestion.
This citrus fruit, with its vibrant orange hue and round shape, is sweet and tangy, packed with vitamin C, promoting a healthy immune system. Different types include tangerines, clementines, cara cara, navel, tangelo, pomelo, and valencia oranges. Try them on their own as a delicious snack, juice, or in a recipe such as my gingerbread oatmeal , my citrus smoothie or my chocolate orange smoothie found in the recipe card below.
Orange Pepper (non-bell)
Other types of orange peppers, like the Hungarian Wax pepper, are not bell-shaped but still offer a sweet and mild flavor. Popular types: hungarian wax.
This cruciferous vegetable is more commonly eaten white, but the yellow version is quite high in vitamin C. Try it in my many cauliflower recipes, including my cauliflower ice cream and my cauliflower brownies. Popular types: cheddar and sunset.
Papayas, with their oblong shape and orange flesh, are tropical fruits with a sweet and vibrant taste, known for their high vitamin C content. Popular types include solo and red lady.
A small fruit, the size of a baseball, holds orange seeds and gel that hold a very sweet, delicious scent. High in vitamin C, this fruit makes a delicious fruit filling or smoothie. Popular types include fuyu and hachiya.
Peaches, with their fuzzy skin and round shape, are sweet and juicy, containing vitamins A and C, and antioxidants like beta-carotene. There are 300 varieties, but all are divided into two types, clingstone and freestones.
Persimmons, with their round, tomato-like shape and orange color, are sweet, tart and high in vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. Slice to eat alone, on a platter or in a smoothie. Popular types include fuyu and hachiya.
Pumpkin is great for eye support. That's because of the antioxidant lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Eat it cooked or canned, just be sure to choose canned pumpkin puree, not the sugar-ladened pumpkin pie fill. I use pumpkin puree in dozens of desserts instead of oil, including in my healthy chocolate cake and my healthy chocolate cupcakes. Popular types include sugar pie and cinderella.
There are several orange squashes, including butternut, delicata, kabocha and acorn. This delicious vegetable is a member of the pumpkin family, and its orange meat can be eaten fresh or canned. It works like pumpkin puree in any dessert including my healthy chocolate cake which uses puree instead of eggs, and even my butternut squash fudge, only 2 ingredients.
Sweet potatoes, with their orange flesh and tapered ends, have a sweet taste and are high in vitamin A, contributing to skin and vision health. Sweet potatoes are also low in calories, one is 100 calories. Try it in my sweet potato brownies or my sweet potato ice cream. Popular types include beauregard and jewel.
These juicy vegetables are sometimes debated that they are fruits. Either way, they are sweet, tangy, high in vitamin A and C. Use them in any cold salad recipe including my chickpea cucumber salad. Types include orange slice, sun gold, amana orange, brandywine, Lillian's yellow heirloom, orange russian 117.
Turmeric, a powder and key ingredient in the Middle Eastern dish curry, is high in potassium, vitamin C and iron and is considered a superb anti-inflammatory. Try it in my homemade turmeric shots and my cozy golden milk.
Yams are a root vegetable similar to sweet potatoes and have a sweet flavor. They are high in vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium.
Other Less Known Orange Foods
And other lesser-known orange foods count too in helping you well-round your diet, including orange lentils, squash blossoms, and orange mushrooms. And not to forget the edible flowers, calendula, chrysanthemum, nasturtium, and marigolds.
Expert tip: I recommend natural foods. Processed foods dyed orange with artificial food dye are not part of the orange foods that help you eat a rainbow diet. These include artificially colored candied fruit, candy corn, skittles, M&Ms, tortillas, processed Mac & Cheese. Yes these are festive and fun for a party, but not for daily consumption to eat the rainbow.
How to Dye Foods Orange
Don't use artificial food dyes full of chemicals. Use natural foods to color your edibles instead. To make food orange, turmeric ground spice is the best option. Dissolve ⅛ teaspoon in a tablespoon of warm water and add to anything you want to add an orange tinge to, even my 2-ingredient sugar cookies.
The most popular foods that are orange include oranges, pumpkin, carrots, mangoes and sweet potato but there are dozens more and you can read about them here.
Foods related to oranges include navel oranges, mandarins, clementines and kumquats.
Foods to bring to an orange party include oranges or clementines, chopped mango salad, orange popsicles and orange sherbet.
The chocolate orange smoothie recipe can be found in the recipe card below. The orange creamsicle smoothie recipe is in my 4-ingredient smoothie cookbook on page 59. To make 2, blend up 1 ½ cups orange slices without peel, ½ cup milk, ½ cup ice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, pinch of cinnamon and teaspoon of orange zest.
Be sure and visit the USDA for more detail on the nutrition make up of fruits and vegetables. And remember to run any specific medical questions by your own doctor, as well as to get confirmation that my information works for you as I am not a medical professional.
More Color Themed Foods
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44 Foods That Are Orange : Chocolate Orange Smoothie
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 ½ cups orange wedges
- ½ cup zucchini, raw, not peeled
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup milk
- ¾ cup ice or milk ice cubes*
- To make milk ice cubes, pour milk in ice cube trays and freeze.
- Add all ingredients to a blender and process until the mixture is smooth.
- Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for one day, or freeze in ice cube trays to blend later.