Spring and warmer weather will be here soon, and many people start thinking about eating lighter and healthier. While the science of nutrition is very complex, the art of eating healthfully is very simple. One simple tactic is to eat with color on your plate. So this month, instead of worrying about counting calories and grams of fat, focus building each of your meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and snack plates with 3 or more colors.
A rainbow of colors provides a variety of nutrients to keep you healthy. Here are some ideas for adding color to your meals and snacks from the American Dietetic Association. Add several foods from each of the color groups to your shopping list this week. Remember that fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables all count!
Green produce indicates antioxidant potential and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks.
- Fruits: avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi and lime
- Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach
Orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity, and reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Fruits: apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peach and pineapple
- Vegetables: carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn and sweet potatoes
Purple and blue options may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and may help with memory, urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks.
- Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins
- Vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple-fleshed potato
Red indicates produce that may help maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks.
- Fruits: cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grape fruit, red grapes and watermelon
- Vegetables: beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes
White, tan and brown foods sometimes contain nutrients that may promote heart health and reduce cancer risks.
- Fruits: banana, brown pear, dates and white peaches
- Vegetables: cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, white-fleshed potato and white corn
Source: American Dietetic Association