Every time I speak to a group of elementary school children, my message is simple: “Eat the Colors of the Rainbow.” It’s such an effective message because they can visualize what I’m talking about.
Most of us know that we should be eating more produce each and every day. Sure, we’ve heard the message about “5-a-day,” but that’s just the bare-bones minimum. We all should really be aiming for at least 9-11 servings of fruit and veggies every day. And I don’t mean the same old boring apples, bananas, and lettuce. Also, french fried and ketchup do NOT count toward your daily servings!
There are so many reasons to eat a variety of different colored fruits and veggies. Each color group possesses a different array of phytochemicals and antioxidants. Each one of those protects your health in a different way. And no one color is better for you than the others.
So, how do you make sure you get the recommended servings of fruits and veggies and all the colors?
- Make sure to include at least 1-2 different fruits and/or veggies at every meal and snack. More is always better.
- Have salad every day.
- Home-made smoothies or green drinks.
- Vegetable soups on a cold winter day.
- Veggies and salsa or guacamole
- Fruit and almond butter
Choose fresh or frozen fruit and veggies, preferably those that are in season and from local farms. Frozen is just as good as fresh, sometimes even better, as it is picked when it is ripe and immediately frozen to lock in the flavor and nutrients. Besides, it’s a great way to get those berries in the middle of winter without having to buy the stuff imported from another continent!
RED: strawberries, raspberries, beets, bell peppers, tomatoes, cherries
ORANGE: oranges, mango, papaya, butternut squash, sweet potato, bell peppers, apricot, peaches, nectarines, carrots
YELLOW: spaghetti squash, lemon
GREEN: spinach, kale, kiwi, grapes, cucumbers, lettuce, chard, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, sugar snap peas, Chinese snow peas, cabbage, baby bok choy
BLUE/PURPLE: blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, purple potatoes, grapes, cabbage
WHITE/BROWN:onion, garlic, potato, mushrooms, bananas, apples, cauliflower
Bottom line: Pick 1-2 different fruits/veggies from the above “cheat sheet” for every meal and snack (that’s 6 times a day). Eat 6 times a day x 2 servings each time = 12 servings! You can do it!