Taste the Rainbow: Benefits of a Colorful Meal

Right before getting married, one of the scariest things I had realized was neither I or my hubby-to-be knew how to cook. However, we both loved to eat. We were just coming out of our college days of eating ramen noodles and pizza bites; it was finally time for a balanced diet. I needed to learn how to feed my family and I wouldn’t settle for just any ole grub.

I decided to take a free online course through Stanford University and it may have been one of my best decisions! Each session, our professor would bring up the value of eating a variety of colors. She would remind us that a green salad every night wouldn’t make the cut. Different colored fruits and veggies contain different nutrients, so it’s important to plan a colorful meal.

If you’re interested in learning the benefits of each color group, keep reading and see how different colors can contribute to a balanced diet. (You can also visit What Color is Your Food by North Dakota State University for a deeper study).

Reds
Reds, such as red apples, tomatoes and beets, are typically rich in antioxidants and provide two main benefits: protecting cells from damage and a healthy heart. This makes those spring strawberries taste even sweeter!

Oranges and Yellows
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which our bodies turn into vitamin A. These bright foods are linked to improved night vision, glowing skin and healthy teeth and bones. As if beautiful skin isn’t enough, it gets even better! Citrus fruits (like lemons and oranges) contain vitamin C, so drink a glass of freshly squeezed OJ or add a little lemon to your water when you need an immune boost.

Greens
Greens are admittedly the hardest for me to eat, but they have countless benefits. Many green vegetables contain Lutein, which makes them good for your eyes, bones and teeth, and their vitamin K help blood to clot properly. If you’re like me and don’t naturally love the taste of those darker greens, try adding spinach to your fruit smoothie or zucchini to a homemade pizza.

Blues and Purples
We’ve all heard that blueberries are a superfood. Ever wondered why? Blue and purple fruits and veggies, such as blueberries, blackberries and eggplant, help reduce the risk of heart disease because of their intense antioxidant properties. Some studies have shown that eating more blueberries could even improve memory function and healthy aging. I’d say they’re pretty super.

Whites
Lastly, white fruits and vegetables, such as apples, cauliflower and pears, are great for those trying to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, while others, such as bananas and potatoes, are good for potassium.

Colorful meals are important and don’t have to be difficult. If you’re not sure where to start, see my roasted veggies taco recipe for an easy, rainbow-colored meal.

If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition, visit our blog for helpful tips.

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