“That’s almost too pretty to eat.” I remember my Mom sighing sometimes when she finally plunked down at the supper table. My Mom loves vegetables and she loves colour on her plate. Consequently, she loves healthy food.
The more intense the colour of a fruit or vegetable, the better it is for you.
Think sweet potatoes, blueberries, and spinach. Those deep, rich colours also mean they are rich in nutrients and do alotta-good for your body. But colour can also give you insight if your overall meal is healthy (remember, by healthy I mean what it can do for you; not what it doesn’t have). Canada’s Food Guide uses different colours in its rainbow arcs to separate the food into groups of similar nutrient content. For example, foods in the blue Milk Products group have lots of calcium or the red Meat and Alternatives have lots of protein, and iron, among other nutrients.
Picking a variety of food groups at each meal ensures a variety of vitamins and minerals. You will also be eating a balance of foods that have primarily protein and other foods that have primarily carbohydrate. It will even out the fat content as well.
Aim for 3 or 4 different food groups at each meal.
Drink juice with a breakfast of cereal and milk.
Add nuts to a salad and bread lunch and then wash it down with a glass of milk.
Sprinkle cheese on your spaghetti and meat sauce.
Think variety. Think nutrition and eating positively.
The Food Guide can also be a great teaching tool for kids. We keep one handy to refer to when each boy has their turn planning and cooking supper (yes, this is a lot of work but I don’t have girls so this is my way of securing good daughter-in-laws). They choose what they want for supper, with the criteria they choose something from each colour of the rainbow. Raw carrots always seem to make the cut. Fine by me. My goal is the habit. They see different choices on other nights.
You may notice that some meals for you are already there but others need some help. Make a realistic goal to improve on the positive. If a goal of perfection is made from the get go, you may set yourself up for failure. Look to do more than last week and then check it off as success. One meal at a time; one food group at a time, you can eat for health.