Feeding the Rainbow

31 Dec

Raising a foodie is our focus but healthy eating will be an added benefit.  Foodies know their ingredients, where they have came from, and appreciate their simplistic beauty.  Cooking with the season produces the freshest ingredients which in turn produces the best dishes.

farmersmarketFeeding children a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables ensures that they receive all of the vitamins and benefits from each produce family.  This is a goal I follow in meal planning by trying to mix and match color families each day to ensure I am providing Liam a nice blend of nutrients.  For example, I try to offer him a vegetable from the orange/yellow family at dinner if I have offered him a green vegetable at lunch.

Below are a few examples of fruits and veggies from the different color families and what each can offer your child:

Green – These veggies and fruits are good for the eyes and can help protect against cancer.  Greens also have a high level of vitamin K, which is important for bone health.  Examples include green beans, peas, broccoli, zucchini, avocados, honeydew, and kiwi.

Orange/Yellow – This color family produces Vitamin A, which is good for the eyes.  Orange and yellow produce can also reduce risk for cancer and heart disease as well as boost the immune system.  Examples include sweet potatoes  butternut squash, yellow squash, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangoes, and grapefruit.

Red – This family is your antioxidant powerhouse family.  They prevent cell damage and reduce risk of cancer.  Examples include red apples, cranberries, watermelon, red potatoes, beets, and tomatoes.

Blue/Purple – Also antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.  Examples include blueberries, prunes, and eggplants.

White – Excellent sources of potassium for bone health and can also help lower blood pressure which prevents heart disease.  Examples are potatoes, bananas, cauliflower, and parsnips.

I think it’s important to offer children a variety of colors on each plate to ensure they obtain all of the vitamins and nutrients they need to develop healthily.  Starting a foundation young for healthy eating is a great gift to a child.  I think we all would agree a healthy child is a happy child so hit the farmers market or produce section and work on your rainbow!



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