For many, the concept of eating healthfully can seem difficult. You may be overwhelmed by nutrition information. Which foods should I choose? What will work for me? Will this affect my diabetes? However, as a Registered Dietitian who helps people improve their food choices, one of my favorite tips is to “eat a rainbow” or “color your plate.” It’s that simple!
Of course, I’m talking about eating a variety of fruits and vegetables here, not green eggs and ham. Regardless of color, fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, and may protect you from certain illnesses like cancer due to their antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Sound good? Let me break it down for you:
GREEN: The darker the green, the better! These foods have nutrients like Vitamin A, lutein, and are a non-dairy source of calcium and other minerals. This means they are good for bones, teeth, and vision.
Plus, many of these vegetables are low in carbohydrate, so they won’t raise your blood sugar very much if you have diabetes. Try spinach, lettuce, broccoli, sweet peppers, and kale.
RED: These foods contain nutrients such as Vitamins B, C, A, and various minerals. Eating them on a regular basis is good for your heart, urinary tract, and can even help your memory. They also contain phytochemicals like lycopene that can be protective against cancer and inflammation in chronic illness.
Apples, watermelon, berries, and tomato are great sources.
YELLOW & ORANGE: Foods in this bright category are great sources of Carotenoids, Vitamin A, folate, and Vitamin C, to name a few. Because of these nutrients, foods such as sweet potato, citrus fruits, squash, sweet peppers, and carrots are good for your heart, eyes, and immune system.
BLUE & PURPLE: Want to aid your memory and promote healthy aging? These darker-hued foods contain Vitamin C and various phytochemicals that can help your brain as well as immune system, urinary tract, and eyes. Plus, a handful of berries pack in a lot of fiber for diabetes management, heart health, and digestive health. Also try eggplant, cabbage, plums, and grapes.
WHITE: Lighter colored fruits and vegetables have nutrients like anthoxanthins, lignins and potassium. Translation? They are good for your heart, immune system, and promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol. Some examples include mushrooms, onions, garlic, cauliflower, and bananas.
Eating healthfully does not have to be hard. When grocery shopping and planning meals for the week, just make sure you choose fruits and vegetables from each color group for maximum health benefits!
Here’s more free & helpful info.
By: Christina Vimini, RD