Tickled pink with nutritious and fun Barbie fare
From seafood to fruit, the world’s favorite doll has plenty of good choices to keep her healthy and beautiful.
As the Barbie phenomenon resurges with this summer’s movie exceeding the billion-dollar sales mark worldwide, I would like to ride the wave with some healthful, pink-pigmented (her favorite color) food suggestions.
But first a little history. Growing up in the pioneer days of Barbie and her cozy klatch, namely her lifeguard beau Ken and friend Stacey, I wangled the deal of a lifetime, trading my second-generation Barbie doll for the coveted original version with my bestie’s older sister, who preferred the newer technology of bendable waist and legs.
Years later, after learning of the value of the 1959 collectible model, which in mint condition can fetch around $27,000, I went on a search and rescue mission in my childhood home. Alas, my mom sorrily broke the news that she had donated the doll to a children’s charity.
Fortunately, I was able to salvage the bubblegum-pink sports car and enviable collection of glittery party dresses, sexy stilettos and funky beachwear. This was before the era when Barbie could be anything she aspired to, from astronaut to zoologist.
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Whatever her career path, here are some choice foods to keep our timeless beauty in the pink as she approaches her 65th birthday in March.
Treasures from the sea — especially wild-caught cold-water fish (please, no bottom feeders) with a generous store of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids — provide a defensive weapon for Barbie against heart disease, cognitive decline, creaky, achy joints, breast cancer and other chronic ailments.
As an added boon, omega-3’s will keep her skin soft, hydrated and luminous while tempering fine lines and wrinkles, and will impart a healthy sheen to her luxurious mane.
You can’t beat wild-caught salmon, whether fresh or canned (with their omega-3- and calcium-rich skin and bones intact).
Magenta-tinged seaweed and other oceanic veggies also are fine sources of nutrients, particularly the fatty acid chlorophylone to knock cancer cells off their feet.
Wild-caught pink shrimp (from Argentina or Key West) and domestic lobster are low-fat, low-carb, protein-packed delights containing a mother lode of vitamins B-12 to enhance brain health, B-3 to temper jittery nerves, zinc to ramp up the immune system and help heal wounds, and selenium for optimum thyroid function. So our girl needs to get crackin’ with a steamed whole lobster, zippy seafood cocktail, grilled kebab or savory bowl of cioppino.
If Barbie doesn’t do fish, there are plenty of other pink powerhouses, including a slew of fruits, vegetables and beans, to keep her healthy and lean. Folate-rich lentils with an ample supply of calcium, protein and iron come in brown, black, yellow and even pink! Toss in soups, stews, salads, pilafs and curry dishes for a hearty, nutritional oomph.
The orange-pink flesh of the exotic papaya has a load of digestive enzymes, immune-boosting vitamins A and C, blood-building iron and antioxidant-packed vitamin E.
She can wet her whistle with a frothy papaya smoothie, whip up a tropical fruit salad or scoop out the hollows and fill with grilled shrimp salad or chili lime quinoa.
Vibrant, fuchsia-fleshed pitaya, or “dragon fruit,” so named because its skin resembles the hide of the mythical reptile, is actually a cactus species with a plethora of phytonutrients, including vitamins B and C, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (in the seeds), along with iron, calcium and potassium to throw cancer and other diseases under the Barbie bus. Surprisingly mild-flavored, pitaya adds a pop of eye candy to fruit bowls, salad dressings and salsas.
But the quintessential fruit of summer, the pink-fleshed watermelon, is high in potassium and electrolytes and hikes hydration and energy levels, while its load of lycopene will help enhance aging Ken’s prostate health. Toss with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil for a mouth-watering twist on the classic caprese (recipe with this article).
Lip-puckering pomegranate seeds can enliven everything from green salads and Persian stews to sassy cocktails and frozen treats as they neutralize free radicals and keep bad cholesterol at bay.
Barbie can shake things up with a dash of pink Himalayan salt endowed with minerals and other essential elements, mainly copper, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium, to put the skids on acid production, regulate heartbeat and fluid levels, and prevent the depletion of two essential hormones — serotonin and melatonin — to help lift mood and modulate sleep patterns. She can sprinkle a pinch for a burst of flavor in salads, soups and even salted caramel brownies.
Now, up to the lips and over the gums. Barbie can cool her heels with some thirst-quenching pink sips such as a lively watermelon mint margarita or cosmo, strawberry basil agua fresca, hibiscus honey lemonade, raspberry bramble, cranberry champagne cocktail or a snappy, fruity glass of chilled rosé wine.
Here’s to Barbie’s good health, ageless beauty, inspiring spirit and playful humor!
Barbie pink caprese salad
• 3 cups pink seedless watermelon, cubed
• 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
• 4 ounces buffalo or fresh mozzarella, pearls or sliced in coins
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
• Pink Himalayan salt, to taste
• Scatter watermelon and cheese on a large platter.
• Sprinkle with salt and garnish with basil strips. Drizzle with oil, lemon juice or vinegar, and honey.