Eating the Rainbow for Optimal Health
Have you ever heard someone say that eating the rainbow is good for you? What’s so healthy about eating foods of many colors and how best can we do that? The rationale for eating all the colors of the rainbow comes from the fact that differently colored foods affect different parts of our body. The pigments that make up the red skin of an apple, the dark orange pulp of a grapefruit, and the vibrant green of a spinach leaf all contain a variety vitamins and minerals. If we eat foods of many colors, we are sure to get all the vitamins and minerals our body needs to function at its best.
Red fruits and vegetable contain Vitamin A and C, manganese, fiber and quercetin. Together these support heart health and boost the immune system. Orange/yellow vegetables and fruits contain carotenoids which can be converted to Vitamin A in the body. They also support our heart health, enhance bone growth and add to healthy vision. Green fruits and vegetables contain potassium, dietary fiber, folate and many vitamins including Vitamin C. These foods aid our digestion, help our overall heart health and reduce the risk of some cancers. Blue/purple vegetables and fruits contain anthocyanins which are excellent anti-oxidants. These aid in proper brain function including sharpening our memory, and support overall heart health. These are just some of the many benefits of including foods rich in many different colors in our daily diet.
Researchers in this area continue to learn new benefits of the vitamins and minerals in our foods and how they work both individually and together to enhance our health. So - go ahead and fill your plate with as many colors as possible at your next meal. Not only will it be good for your health, it will look beautiful too!
Eating the Rainbow Place Mat for Kids
To encourage younger children to try foods of many colors, help them make an “Eating the Rainbow” place mat:
Step 1: Take a large piece of white paper and outline 6 rectangles across the top.
Step 2: Outline a rainbow below your rectangles and label it, “I can eat the rainbow!”
Step 3: Have your child color in the rainbow and color in each of the 6 rectangles in the following order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.
Step 4: Let your child be creative in decorating the rest of the placemat – one idea is to have your child draw fruits and veggies of different colors all around the rainbow.
Step 5: Laminate the paper (you can find self-adhesive laminating paper at many office supply and multi-purpose stores.
Step 6: Have your child use the place mat at meals. At meal times, have your child name all the colors they are eating and provide a whiteboard marker so he/she can make a check mark in the corresponding colored rectangles above the rainbow.
Step 7: Celebrate together when your child has eaten all the colors of the rainbow!Hope you and your child have fun eating the rainbow.
Please contact me if you need additional information or help in motivating your child to embrace eating healthfully.