Who knew eating the right colors in our meals everyday could provide so much nutrition. It is essential to include a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on our plates every day. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an increased focus on plant-based diets. This combined with lean meats, fish, poultry and low fat dairy products creates a rainbow of colors on the plate that serve as the foundation for a healthful eating plan. Adding colorful seasonal foods to your plate makes for more than just a festive meal; it provides vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose these foods daily for optimal nutrition:
Red indicates produce that may help maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks.
- Fruits: cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grape fruit, red grapes and watermelon
- Vegetables: beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, and tomatoes
Purple and blue foods 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 potatoes
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, leafy greens and spinach
Orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity, and reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Fruits: apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peach and pineapple
- Vegetables: carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn and sweet potatoes
White, tan and brown foods sometimes contain nutrients that may promote heart 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