Did you know the different colors of fruits and veggies tell us which disease fighting phytonutrients are inside? It's probably not surprising to hear that most people don't get enough phytonutrients. This can lead to increased risk of disease such as osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and more. Let's take a look at some ways of getting your colors in your diet every day.
Greens! If you're a parent, you've probably said "gotta eat something green! Did you eat something green?!" I know I have. But only 31% of us actually get enough green in our diet. What are some good ways to work in more green if green veggies aren't your jam? I like to add legumes and a handful of kale to homemade soup. You can throw a handful of spinach into a smoothie or top a flatbread with arugula. Or how about a nice cup of green tea?
Reds! One component that contributes to the beautiful red color of fruits and veggies is lycopene, which has been shown to reduce heart disease risk, protect the eyes, fight infections, and protect against damage from tobacco smoke. Adults eat an estimated 22-24 pounds of tomatoes and tomato products per year. What other reds can you work in? How about some watermelon? Yum! Top oatmeal with raspberries or drink a little cherry juice post-workout!
Orange! Most everyone who knows me know that I'm OB. SESSED. with mangos. They are my absolute favorite fruit! And really, I like the sweetness of most any orange fruit and veggie. To get more orange in your diet, try a carrot and sweet potato soup. Or add tumeric or ginger to sauces, soups and dressings.
Whites! Fun fact: you can preserve the phytonutrients if you wait 10 minutes before cooking chopped garlic. Snack on an apple (I like to add peanut butter!) to get more whites in your diet. Add garlic and onions to, well, just about anything or try mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice.
Purples! The latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES), found that adults who eat purple fruits and vegetables have reduced risk for both high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind); they are also less likely to be overweight. What's not to like about that! Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are yummy to snack on or add to that spinach smoothie! Or maybe order a beet salad as an appetizer next time you go to dinner!
There are many options in each color category. Make a conscious effort to add a little every day. Make snacking easy by chopping and cutting your fruits and vegetables on Sunday for the week. You could also prep a lentil and veggie soup on Sunday! Find out some strategies that work for you and you'll be eating all your colors in no time!