Bites for sore eyes: 5 recipes for healthier vision

cutting up vegetables

If a pair of glasses can correct vision, then a pair of oven mitts can improve it.

One of the best ways to promote eye health is through the stomach, and you don’t have to like carrots. Sweet potatoes, mangoes, turkey, peppers and salmon all carry the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to improve eye health.1

Microwave mavens should not fear. You don’t have to be a cooking connoisseur to create eye-healthy meals. Even kitchen novices can whip up dishes that are simple to assemble yet chock-full with nutrients that can keep your eyes and you in focus.

Here are five quick and easy eye-healthy recipes that include a range of delicious ingredients even kids would like.

Tropical smoothie, courtesy of All About Vision (serves four)2

For those on the go, this recipe is jammed with lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C, all of which are important nutrients for healthy vision. The sweetness of the mango and pineapple provides a nice balance to the spinach or kale.

• 3/4 cup of frozen mango
• 1/4 cup of frozen pineapple
• 1 cup of spinach or kale
• 1 cup of coconut water

Add all items to a blender, mix together to your thickness preference and drink up.

Roasted salmon with peach salsa, courtesy of All About Vision (serves four)3

This dish delivers a big dose of essential omega-3 fatty acids, and is pretty to look at to boot. Don’t let the salmon intimidate you. You only need to put it under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes and it’s done.

• Four salmon fillets (fresh or frozen, although wild caught is preferred over farmed)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• salt and pepper

For the salsa:
• 1 cup of peaches cut into 1/4-inch cubes (or cantaloupe if preferred)
• 1/2 red pepper cut into 1/4-inch cubes
• 1 green onion, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
• salt and pepper
• juice and zest of one lime (zest optional)
• 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat broiler to 400 degrees (or maximum).
2. Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Place the fillets on the cooking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each fillet.
4. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until brown on the top and cooked throughout.

While the salmon is cooking, you can mix up the salsa:
1. Gently combine the peaches, green onion, red pepper and cilantro. Season with a little salt and pepper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest and lime juice.
3. Pour dressing over salsa and mix to combine.

Spoon one quarter of the salsa on each salmon fillet and serve.

Turkey and mango orange pepper boats, courtesy of Eyefoods4 (serves four)

Rich in zinc, niacin, vitamin C and vitamin A, this refreshing meal can be made in advance and stored before serving.

• 1 boneless, skinless turkey breast cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 tbsp canola oil or olive oil
• 1 cup shelled edamame (or frozen peas)
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 1 mango, peeled and sliced
• 1/4 cup chopped cashews
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 4 orange peppers, seeds removed, cut in quarters
• salt and pepper

Dressing (you also can use your favorite bottle dressing in a pinch):
• 3 tbsp canola oil
• 1 tbsp rice vinegar
• 1 tsp soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
• 1 tsp lime juice
• dash of hot sauce
• dash of sesame oil
• pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Cook turkey on medium-high heat until cooked through (no pink). Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
2. Bring frozen, shelled edamame to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as the edamame floats. Drain and cool.
3. Mix the edamame, green onion, mango, cashews and parsley in a bowl. Add the turkey and mix ingredients together. (This mixture can be made one hour or the day before and stored in the refrigerator.)
4. Stir all ingredients of dressing together in a small bowl or jar. Add to the turkey mixture.
5. Spoon into pepper halves and top with chopped cashews. Enjoy!

Creamy orange-cherry oatmeal, courtesy of the American Optometric Association (serves two)5

Why wait until dinner to get eye-healthy? This simple recipe is bursting with omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate and zinc.

• 1-1/2 cups DHA-fortified milk or soymilk (such as Horizon, Organic Valley or Soymilk)
• 2/3 cup dried tart cherries
• 1 cup old-fashioned oats
• 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
• 1 tablespoon chopped pecans (optional)

1.In a medium saucepan, heat the milk or soymilk and cherries on medium high, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When it begins to simmer (small bubbles appear), add oats. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until oats are cooked and liquid is absorbed, roughly 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
2.Add the orange juice concentrate and stir thoroughly. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with nuts if desired. (You maximize the vitamin C content by adding the orange juice after cooking.)

Whole wheat penne with spinach and Gorgonzola, courtesy of the American Optometric Association (serves six)6

Don’t let the ingredient list fool you. This dish is relatively easy to make once you get the ingredients chopped. Read through the directions completely before starting. The prep time will be about 5 to 10 minutes and the cooking time is about 15 minutes. This dish is rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, folate and zinc.

• 10 ounces of uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
• olive oil cooking spray
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1-1/2 cup)
• 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
• 1 6-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach
• 1/3 cup of fresh basil, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
• 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, without salting the water.
2. While pasta is cooking, spray a large, non-stick frying pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir, cooking until slightly transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook for another minute. Add broth and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, toss and simmer for 2 minutes. Add spinach and basil, cook and stir for about 2 minutes, or until the leaves wilt. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Drain the pasta and add it to the spinach mixture. Thoroughly toss. Serve on a platter and top with Gorgonzola and pine nuts.

Hungry for more? Visit these sites for other eye-healthy recipes:

•Joy Bauer:
•My Recipes:
•Eating Well:

1. “The 10 best foods for your eyes,” by Joy Bauer, Today Food, May 30, 2008,
2. “Recipes for healthy eyes,” All About Vision,
3. Ibid.
4. Turkey and mango orange pepper boats recipe, Eyefoods
5. Creamy orange-cherry oatmeal, American Optometric Association,
6. Whole wheat penne with spinach and gorgonzola, American Optometric Association,