You may have heard the phrase “eat the rainbow,” but what does that actually mean? Eating the rainbow refers to including all different colors of fruits and vegetables in your dietary patterns. Fruits and vegetables range in color, from white to orange to deep purple. All of the colors you see are caused by phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds in plants that give the plants their colors, flavors, and distinctive smells. When consumed, these compounds help prevent and limit our risk for several diseases, including heart disease, which affects millions of people yearly. Each color you see has different properties compared to another. For example, the thing that makes carrots orange is not found in blueberries, tomatoes, or greens.
The recommendation to eat the rainbow is an easy way to ensure that you are getting all of the essential nutrients into your diet. The general recommendation is to eat about five cups of fruits and vegetables daily. All foods play a part in overall health, so make your plate colorful! Check out the tips below to ensure you are eating the rainbow:
- Include fruits and vegetables in a snack – carrots and hummus, apples and peanut butter, or celery and ranch – all great snacks that contain tons of nutrients!
- Use frozen when fresh isn’t available – frozen fruits and vegetables are just as good as fresh! You’re more likely to find produce that may not be in season now.
- Check out farmer’s markets for fresh, seasonal, and local produce – buying seasonal produce ensures you get fruit and vegetables at peak flavor and ripeness!
- Eat more salads – salads are an easy way to up your fruit and vegetable intake, plus more colors = more phytonutrients (and fiber).
- Don’t remove the peels – try to keep the peels on apples, cucumbers, eggplants, etc. The peels contain a good amount of nutrients!
Click here to get some inspiration for your next phytonutrient-filled meal!