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Eating the Rainbow Print

Getting a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet   

a round wooden bowl contains vegetables arranged in wedges by colour, red, yellow, green, blue and orange

 

 

Have you ever been told to eat the rainbow? No, I am not referring to the Skittles ‘taste the rainbow’ ads. I am talking about adding colour to your plate in the form of a variety of fruits and vegetables.  

 

Why Eat a variety of Fruits and Vegetables?

 

Fruits and vegetables provide us with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that have specific roles in the body. They help with cell maintenance, immunity, chemical reactionshelp convert the food we eat into usable energy, and so much more!  Fiber from colorful fruits and vegetables plays an important role in the management of cholesterol, diabetes and the overall feeling of being full. Phytochemicals function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens and anti-inflammatory agents. Each playing an important role in disease management.  

 

Why are different colors important?

 

Often when we advise clients to aim for 50% of their plate to be fruits and vegetables, we don’t always emphasize the fact that we want them to be from different kinds of fruits and vegetables as well as different colors 

This is important because each color of fruit and vegetable provides us with different nutrients. Did you know that? Not to mention it makes our plate look prettier – we want to eat those colorful, inviting foods!  

The color compounds in fruits and vegetables are the phytochemicals or phytonutrients. These nutrients in a plant are a part of their protective system, like their immune system, so, when we eat plant foods, we also see protection in our systems. Research has shown us that eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and eating adequate amounts of each can reduce our risk for chronic diseases.  

Ensuring that you eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables will aid in all the benefits they have to offer.  

  • Orange colored fruits and vegetables for are high in carotenoids which have been linked to a decrease risk of certain cancers and eye disease.  
  • Blue colored fruit and vegetables are high in anthocyanin that helps preserve brain function as we age.  
  • Green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants that are related to a reduction of for cancer prevention.  

Most fruits and vegetables provide several of the same vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals however each is known for specific role in the body. 

 

A fresh salad in a bowl containing purple beans, red cheerry tomatores, yellow pepppers and greens

What Eating the Rainbow Provides

 

  • Red: red apples, red grapes, red bell peppers, strawberries and raspberries, beets, watermelon, red onions, tomatoes. 
     
  • Orange and yellow: carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow bell peppers, oranges, bananas, pineapple, mango, squash and pumpkin, peaches, corn, cantaloupe, apricots.
     
  • Green: lettuce varieties including spinach, cabbage and kale, broccoli, avocados, green leafy herbs, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, asparagus, green beans. 
     
  • Blue and purple: blueberries and blackberries, concord grapes, raisins, eggplant, prunes, purple cabbage, plums, figs.
     
  • White and brown: onions, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, parsnips, mushrooms.  

 

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do I need each day?

 

The Canadian guidelines and recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption: 

Children aged 2-3: 4 serves per day  

Children aged 4-8: 5 serves per day  

Children aged 9-13: 6 serves per day  

Teens aged 14-18: males 8 serves per day, females 7 serves per day  

Adults aged 19-50: males 8-10 serves per day, females 7-8 serves per day 

Adults aged 51 and older: 7 serves per day  

 

What is a serving?

 

½ a cup of vegetables or 1 cup leafy greens, 1 medium piece of fruit or 2 small pieces of fruit or 1 cup mixed fruit.  

½ a cup of juice is also considered a serve but when we drink the juice, we lose the fiber content so drinking juice is recommended in moderation and to choose eating the whole fruit more often.  

 

5 Ways to increase your vegetable and fruit intake:

 

1) Serving sizes are smaller then most people realize, ensure you have fruit and vegetables at all meals 

2) When aiming for 50% of your plate to be fruit and vegetables, choose 2 different kinds or have one cold (salad or raw) and one cooked. When choosing the 2 different kinds consider their colours to keep your plate colourful and increase the nutrient content.  

3) Don’t forget snacks count too, aim to include fruits and vegetables in your snacks  Mason jars filled with layers of vegetables in all the colours of the rainbow

4) Add more vegetables to meals than recipes call for. Ex if a recipe calls for onion, carrot and celery in a soup, consider adding bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, peas or greens like spinach or kale.  

5) Don’t forget about frozen fruits and vegetables, these food items are great to be added to smoothies, soups, stews, fried rice and casseroles. 

 

Looking for some tasty, colorful recipes to try? Here are a few we’ve shared on the blog:  

 

 

 

 

Looking for more simple meal planning tips and healthy recipes for a healthier lifestyle? Sign up for our weekly newsletter for a healthy recipe of the week (and nutrition articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits but still save room for your favorites). Our nutrition newsletter is written by the Online / Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice. 

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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