No I don’t mean Skittles! I mean fruit and vegetables. Everyone knows that we need to eat our fruits and vegetables, but why? Fresh fruit and vegetables help our bodies to maintain a healthy weight, boost our immune system, reduce heart disease, reduce our risk of certain types of cancer, and can even help with problems that naturally occur from aging like vision loss.
Keeping variety with your fruits and vegetables also means that you will be eating a lot more vitamins and minerals. You can get away with not taking a multivitamin just by eating them in natural foods. Plus you get all the healthy fiber, phytochemicals (natural occuring compound in plants that may help to reduce cancer risk), and antioxidants (helps maintain and promote good cell growth) that a multivitamin cannot provide. I highly suggest that all your fruit and vegetable choices be fresh. If you must, frozen is the next best choice but stay away from anything that comes with a sauce on it. Canned fruit tends to have a lot of sugar added to as well as dyes and canned vegetables almost always have sodium added to them. Both tend to lose a lot of the essential nutrients that is found in their fresh and frozen equals because of the canning process.
I understand that price is sometimes a concern and that the only thing some can afford are the canned options. If you feel this is your only choice, rinse the fruit or vegetable under cold water in a strainer to remove as much of the canning liquid as possible. I do want to say, though, that there are many inexpensive fresh choices if you buy what is in season! The abundance of these fruits and vegetables allows the markets to sell them for less. How do you know what’s in season? Well, the internet is a great way to find out but my favorite is an app called Eat Local. It tells you everything to look for right now! For example, right now (Mid to late November) Eat Local says apples, cabbage, onions, peas, and squash are all in season. Now when I go to the market I can go straight to these items and know that I will be getting a fresh inexpensive choice.
So on to how to eat the rainbow. Below is the rainbow as I learned it in school ROY G BIV. Some of the colors are combined as they offer the same benefits.
- Some fruit choices are: Raspberries, tomatoes, strawberries, pomegranates, and watermelon.
- Some vegetable choices are: Beets, red peppers, rhubarb, and red onions.
- Some fruit choices are: Oranges, peaches, cantaloupe, pineapple, and yellow figs.
- Some vegetable choices are: Yellow/Orange peppers, carrots, butternut squash, and pumpkin.
- Some fruit choices are: Avocados, green apples, green grapes, kiwi, and honeydew.
- Some vegetable choices are: Spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, lettuces, green beans, (so many to name here)!
- Some fruit choices are: Blueberries, purple grapes, plums, raisins, and figs.
- Some vegetable choices are: Purple potatoes, eggplant, black olives, purple asparagus, and purple cabbage.
I know that this is not a color but this category should not be ignored. White fruits and vegetables offer many immune boosting nutrients.
- Some fruit choices are: Bananas, white flesh nectarines/peaches, and pears.
- Some vegetable choices are: Cauliflower, kohlrabi, ginger, garlic, onions, parsnips, jicama, and potatoes.
I challenge you to go outside your box and try something new at your next meal. You’ll be surprised at how many different types of fruits and vegetables there are out there. If you are looking for an extra challenge buy something you’ve never heard of and then look up different recipes for that item. I never had kohlrabi until this past summer and I found that when grilled it has a very mild sweet taste that’s goes great with white fish.
For help on how to prepare and cook vegetables one of my favorite books is Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. It has saved my butt a couple of times and I have to thanks my sister-in-law for purchasing this book for me. Not sure I could do with out it!