The best way to make sure you are getting everything you need nutritionally is to eat a wide variety of foods. This is especially important for fruits and vegetables with their wide array of colors and nutrients. One easy way to do this is to eat from every color of the rainbow as often as possible. This isn’t just important for the kids, it’s important for everyone!
Try to eat new things and rotate what you’re eating. Instead of always buying white potatoes and white onions all the time, buy purple ones instead. Instead of buying green peppers, buy red, orange or yellow ones. Instead of always buying red apples, buy green and yellow ones.
It seems easier to eat enough fruit, in part because they taste sweeter and usually don’t require cooking. To help you try new vegetables I’ve included a couple of recipes for some of the less commonly eaten vegetables.
Blue/Purple Fruits & Vegetables
Blue/Purple fruits and vegetables have anthocyanins which act as powerful antioxidants protecting cells from damage. There is some evidence they may reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Blue/Purple fruits and vegetables include: blackberries, blueberries, black currants, purple figs, juneberries, plums, prunes, purple grapes, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple peppers, purple potatoes.
Red Fruits & Vegetables
Red fruits and vegetables have lycopene or anthocyanins. Lycopene has been shown to reduce the risk of several types of cancers.
Red fruits and vegetables include: red apples, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, red grapes, red pears, strawberries,raspberries, rhubarb, watermelon, pomegranates, beets, red cabbage, red peppers, radishes, red potatoes, tomatoes.
Orange/Yellow Fruits & Vegetables
Orange/Yellow fruits and vegetables have carotenoids which converts to Vitamin A in the body, helping to maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. These same carotenoids have also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The citrus members also have high levels of Vitamin C.
Orange/Yellow fruits and vegetables include: yellow apples, apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, yellow pears, yellow watermelon, persimmons, pineapple, tangerines, butternut squash, carrots, yellow peppers, pumpkin, rutabagas, yellow summer or winter squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, yellow tomatoes
Green Fruits & Vegetables
Green fruits and vegetables have chlorophyll. Some have lutein, indoles and folate. Lutein keeps eyes healthy, indoles protect against cancer, and folate reduces risk of birth defects.
Green fruits and vegetables include: green apples, kiwi, green grapes, limes, green pears,honeydew melon, avocados, artichokes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, green onions, peas, green peppers, zucchini, celery, spinach, other leafy greens (collards, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens etc.)
Leafy greens almost belong in a class by themselves. I started a series just on these wonderfully nutritious vegetables.
White/Brown Fruits & Vegetables
White/Brown fruits and vegetables contain anthoxanthins and allicin, which helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may reduce the risk of stomach cancer and heart disease.
White/Brown fruits and vegetables include: bananas, brown pears, white nectarines, dates, garlic, cauliflower, ginger, jicama, mushrooms, white potatoes, turnips. onions, parsnips