March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color.” Additionally, spring is just around the corner, so why not use this time to put more vibrant foods in your shopping basket as well as on your plate?
Here are 10 tips to get your started. Remember, nothing says nutritious like color!
Your Plate is Your Palette. Think of your dinner plate as a painter would think about his pallete. He needs lots of different colors to create a picture, just like we need to eat lots of different foods to meet our nutrient requirements. For the biggest benefit, try to have at least three colorful foods on your plate at each meal.
Eye Appeal = Appetite Appeal. Most of the time, we eat with our eyes. Meaning, if something looks good, we’ll gobble it up. If you’re the type who perceives “healthy” food as boring, dress up your dinner so it’s irresistible! For example, instead of just grilling fish, prepare something much more eye-appealing like Driscoll’s Cod Fillets with Warm Blueberry Mango Salsa. The colors will explode on your plate making the fish too pretty to resist!
Eat the Rainbow. When it comes to produce, color is king! Choose from the following fruits and vegetables for super-healthy meals and snacks:
Red: Strawberries, raspberries, red peppers and tomatoes are all good for our hearts. Red-colored fruit and vegetables may also help strengthen our immunity, eyesight and protect us from certain cancers.
Orange/Yellow: Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and apricots each contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity and reduce the risk of some cancers.
Green: Avocados, spinach, grapes, asparagus and kale are nutrition powerhouses that are rich in vitamin K (for bone health), lutein (for eye health) and indols, a natural plant compound (for cancer prevention).
Blue/Indigo: Blueberries, plums, blackberries, eggplant and purple tomatoes each contain antioxidants which have anti-aging benefits and may help with memory and urinary tract health.
White/Tan/Brown: Bosque pears, white peaches, cauliflower and onions are loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant that neutralizes free-radicals and lessens cell damage.
Get Your Fiber Fix. While brown may not be an appetizing food color, eating a diet rich in fiber (between 25 and 28 grams per day) may lengthen your lifespan. According to a recent study by the NIH, participants not only extended their lives, but they also reduced their risk of cardiovascular, infections and respiratory diseases.
Spice up Your Life. Don’t forget that herbs and spices count, when it comes to “coloring” your plate! Curry, mint, cayenne, basil, cinnamon, dill…The list goes on! Add a dash of dried spices or a pinch of fresh herbs to meals for extra flavor and nutrition.