March is National Nutrition Month ®, and the American Dietetic Association encourages everyone to add color and nutrients to your meals through this year’s theme: “Eat Right with Color.”
Healthful eating means filling your plate with a rainbow of foods which creates a palette of nutrients. Each color provides a different bundle of potential benefits for a healthful eating plan.
Food variety supplies different nutrients, so to maximize the nutritional value of your meal, include healthful choices in a variety of colors. Use this color guide to brighten up your plate in every season:
Green produce indicates antioxidant potential and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks.
- Fruits: avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi and lime
- Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach
Orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity and reduce the risk of some cancer.
- Fruits: apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peach and pineapple
- Vegetables: carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn and sweet potatoes
Purple and blue options may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and may help with memory, urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks
- Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins
- Vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple-fleshed potato
Red indicates produce that may help maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks
- Fruits: cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grapefruit, red grapes and watermelon
- Vegetables: beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes
White, tan and brown foods sometimes contain nutrients that may promote hearth health and reduce cancer risks
- Fruits: banana, brown pear, dates and white peaches
- Vegetables: cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, white-fleshed potato and white corn
When shopping, choose a variety of colors for seasonal fruits and vegetables. If what you are looking for is out of season, look for additional options to your color palette with frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables available throughout the year.
Makeover your fried chicken and mashed potatoes by painting a more colorful plate. Try topping grilled chicken with a red salsa, use mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus and spinach salad with orange slices. Now that’s a colorful meal that is not only visually appealing, but it also contains a variety of nutrients and is quite tasty.
For more information on how to “Eat Right with Color,” visit ADA’s National Nutrition Month website for a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources. www.eatright.org