Add More Color to Your Plate!
Colorful foods have some of the best health benefits for your body. The colorful food groups you want to make sure you are incorporating every day include fruits and vegetables. These foods pack in various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which are all beneficial to your health. Eating more of these types of foods can help you to lower your risk of heart disease, promote better blood sugar control, lower your risk of developing diabetes, improve gut health, and even help to improve your mental health.
Different colors have different benefits, so get the most out of your fruits and veggies by incorporating a variety each week.
What Colorful Foods Can Do For You
RED- Red fruits and veggies contain phytochemicals which, like antioxidants, have cancer fighting effects as well as other health benefits. The best way to get theses phytochemicals is through eating whole foods, rather than taking supplements. Here are some ways to incorporate red foods:
- Red peppers with hummus dip
- Adding tomatoes to a sandwich
- Adding a fruit salad with strawberries and raspberries to your meal or as a snack
- Incorporating beets into a salad. Check out this recipe: https://www.loveandlemons.com/roasted-beet-salad/
ORANGE/YELLOW- Fruits and veggies of the orange and yellow varieties are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. These foods will help to keep your immune system strong, and promote healthy vision and cell growth. Here are some ways to incorporate orange and yellow foods:
- Carrots with a greek yogurt dip
- Salad with a lemon vinaigrette
- Tropical fruit salad with mangoes, papayas, and pineapples – Baked sweet potato fries. Check out this recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014647-sweet-potato-fries
GREEN- Green foods are abundant and contain many different health benefits. They are rich in nutrients like lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. These nutrients are beneficial to blood and bone health. Here are some ways to incorporate green foods:
- Roasted broccoli as a side dish to any meal
- Mashed avocado on toast for breakfast or a snack
- Green apple with peanut butter
- Mixed green salad with dinner. Check out this recipe: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mixed_green_salad_with_pecans_goat_cheese_and_honey_mustard_vinaigrette/
BLUE/PURPLE- Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients like anthocyanins and resveratrol which have been studied for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. These foods can help decrease inflammation and also play roles in heart and brain health. Here are some ways to incorporate more blue and purple foods:
- Coleslaw made with purple cabbage
- Roasted purple potatoes
- Adding blueberries or blackberries to greek yogurt for breakfast
- Eggplant parmesan. Check out this recipe: https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/252777/eatingwells-eggplant-parmesan/
Try to incorporate a variety of these foods into your meal plan each week to ensure you are getting all the health benefits possible from your nutrition. If you are unsure of how to better incorporate these foods into your meal plan or have questions about your diet, reach out to a CHI Health Dietitian!
Mary Cate is a dietitian with CHI Health Weight Management. Her love of food and nutrition stems from many years of playing sports and growing up in a family that loves to cook. Her goal is to help people learn that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and that it should be an enjoyable part of our lives.