May 2016 Issue

The Rainbow Guide

Eat a Rainbow of Produce!

Eat a variety of colorful produce to gain maximum health benefits.

If you limit your produce intake to just a few popular types—apples, bananas, and iceberg lettuce, for example—you miss out on thousands of phytochemicals that are available in a range of colorful produce. Phytochemicals (plant chemicals) are what give fruits and vegetables their color, scent, and flavor. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, which is behind their myriad health benefits. Research links fruit and vegetable consumption with many benefits, such as protection against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Click the link to the right to see our full guide to fruits and veggies.

Try to include a variety of fruits (1½ - 2 cups per day) and vegetables (2 - 3 cups per day) in your diet for health protection.

Breakfast: Top cereal or yogurt with peaches or berries, serve bananas or mandarin oranges over pancakes or waffles, and sauté bell peppers and onions with eggs.

Lunch: Stack sandwiches with avocados and radishes; feast on a large salad with greens, chickpeas, and olives; sip soups with mushrooms and leeks; and munch on grapes or apricots for dessert.

Dinner: Include a salad starring spinach or romaine; serve sautéed vegetables on the side, such as zucchini or cauliflower; include more veggie-rich casseroles, such as eggplant parmesan or vegetable lasagna; and enjoy fruit desserts, such as apple crisp or grilled peaches.

Snack: Enjoy whole fruit for easy snacks, such as plums, oranges, and figs; handheld veggie snacks, such as snap peas, carrots, or cherry tomatoes; or a smoothie made of greens and mangos.

Sharon Palmer, RDN