At a typical meal, how many different colors are on your plate? To meet your body’s nutrient needs, and protect against disease, challenge yourself to include more color in each meal. Think of your plate as a blank canvas and channel your inner artist! Following are examples of colorful fruits and vegetables, and some of the nutrients they provide.
RED FOODS: Strawberries, Raspberries, Cherries, Tomatoes, Beets, Red Bell Peppers,Watermelon, Cranberries, Pink Grapefruit, Pomegranates,Guava, Red Grapes, Red Apples, Red Pears, etc.
ORANGE AND YELLOW FOODS: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Cantaloupe, Oranges, Tangerines, Apricots, Mangoes, Papayas, Orange Bell Peppers, Yellow Bell Peppers, Pineapple, Winter Squash, Nectarines, Peaches, Persimmons, Yellow Pears, Yellow Apples, etc.
GREEN FOODS: Spinach, Dark Leafy Greens, Broccoli, Kale, Asparagus, Snap Peas, String Beans, Kiwi, Honeydew, Green Bell Peppers, Green Grapes, Green Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Bok Choy, Artichokes, Broccoli Rabe, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Celery, Green Apples, Green Pears, etc.
Blue and purple foods contain ANTHOCYANINS, the antioxidants that color food red, blue, or purple and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
White foods have ANTHOXANTHINS, antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Are you ready to jazz up your meals with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables? Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Make a list of your favorite fruits and vegetables of each color.
- Use the list to plan several meals for the week.
- Meal ideas:
- Oatmeal with an array of your favorite colorful fruit with slivered almonds and cinnamon or nutmeg. (Consider: berries, melon, sliced banana, sliced apple, sliced nectarine, and/or sliced plum.)
- Appetizer or snack of your favorite vibrant raw veggies with hummus or pureed black beans and salsa. (Consider: carrots, snap peas, red bell peppers, jicama, and string beans.)
- Stir fried veggies (your favorite red, orange, yellow and green ones) with a small portion of lean protein
- Veggie chili with every color in the rainbow. (Consider: tomatoes, diced winter squash or carrots, yellow bell peppers or pineapple, green beans or broccoli, eggplant, onions or cauliflower, and black or pinto beans.)
- A big salad (dark leafy greens, beets or raspberries, diced mango or roasted sweet potato chunks, yellow bell peppers, purple cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) with some type of lean protein (chickpeas, kidney beans, hard boiled egg, tuna, tofu, chicken breast, etc.) and balsamic vinegar.
- An omelet or scrambled eggs with spinach, tomato, orange bell pepper, and garlic.
- Whole wheat pasta with an eggplant-broccoli-bell pepper tomato sauce.
- Hummus and veggie sandwich on whole grain bread. (Remember to include your favorite red, orange/yellow, and green veggies.)
- Pizza on whole wheat crust with a medley of colorful vegetable and/or fruit toppings. (Consider: tomatoes, spinach, pineapple, eggplant, and bell peppers.)
- For dessert, serve fresh berries, or diced mango, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, and melon, or baked apples, or poached pears
- Use your plan create a shopping list of your favorite red, orange/yellow, green, blue/purple, and white foods and go hit the market. Happy shopping!