How to Eat the Rainbow
A lot of us tend to follow kind of a “beige” diet. Think about it: meats, bread, rice, quinoa, granola, and oats—they all fall within the light tan-to-brown color range. “Eating the rainbow,” then, refers to embracing all colors of the rainbow in your diet, particularly with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a great way to ensure that you’re getting a wide variety of ingredients, all while keeping things interesting to the eye. Since eating the rainbow may require a shift in lifestyle for you, here are some tips on embracing the “eat the rainbow” lifestyle.
Know your rainbow.
The first step to eating the rainbow is to, of course, know your rainbow. There exists a wide variety of foods that fall all over the color spectrum, many of which you probably never considered incorporating in your diet. Here is a nutritional look at the colors of the rainbow:
Red: Apples, tomatoes, peppers, beets, radishes, berries, red grapes, watermelon, grapefruit, blood orange.
Orange: Sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, bell peppers, turmeric, oranges, mangoes, apricots, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, papaya.
Yellow: Yellow squash, corn, bell peppers, apples, bananas, lemons, pineapple, ginger root.
Green: Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, other leafy greens, cucumbers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bean sprouts, celery, asparagus, peas, watercress, leeks, herbs, artichokes, peppers, edamame, avocados, apples, honeydew melon, limes, pears, grapes.
Blue and purple: Red cabbage, red onions, eggplant, purple broccoli, purple cauliflower, purple potatoes, berries, grapes, figs, plums, prunes, raisins, rice.
White and beige: Cauliflower, potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, nuts, dates, coconut, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, lean meats.
Know your meal options.
The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to preparing meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. Here are just a few types of dishes you could make for breakfast, lunch, or dinner to give you some inspiration:
- Leafy salads
- Fruit salads
- Lettuce wraps
- Soups and chili
- Buddha bowls or rice bowls
- Açai bowls or smoothie bowls
- Roasted or sauteed vegetables
- Baked veggie “fries”
- Veggie noodles
- Veggie burgers
- Veggie-packed omelettes
- Fancy toast
- Raw veggies (optionally with dip or hummus)
- Fresh fruit (optionally with dip)
Buy produce in-season.
Gaining a firm grasp of which produce is currently in-season (and when your favorite produce will be in-season) is a great way to make fresh fruits and vegetables a fundamental part of your diet while keeping things interesting. Plus, it makes grocery shopping more fun, and as this article explains, it’s a great way to save money on groceries. This blog post contains a great list of which fruits and vegetables are in-season in spring, summer, fall, and winter. This may vary according to which region of the country you live in, of course.
Rely on year-round produce staples.
While many types of fruits and vegetables have their peak times during the year, there are some fruits and vegetables that you can depend on enjoying year round, as they are more or less in-season throughout the year. Year-round in-season fruits include bananas, avocados, and apples, while year-round in-season vegetables include carrots, potatoes, and celery. In addition, grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats will always be available throughout the year. Year-round in-season staples are great to keep in mind as you develop a personal repertoire of go-to healthy recipes.
Fall in love with your freezer.
The more fresh produce you bring into your home, the more likely you are to need to freeze some of that excess produce before it goes bad. Freezing some of your fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to enjoy your favorite foods out of season while keeping food waste to a minimum. You can freeze fruits, vegetables, and herbs for smoothies, quick sautéeing, adding to soups, dropping into the slow cooker, and so much more.
Follow healthy lifestyle food bloggers.
Many healthy lifestyle food bloggers out there are all about eating the rainbow, and they can offer you continuous inspiration for your everyday meals and snacks. Find a few healthy lifestyle food bloggers who you connect with so that you can get everyday food ideas while scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Your lifestyle will conform to what you surround yourself with, and it might as well include healthy meal inspiration.