Who knew eating the right colors in our meals every day 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 (Sugar Dietary Guidelines) 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 serves 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 grapefruit, 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