When it comes to food, it pays to be a rainbow warrior! Discover the various health benefits of different coloured foods and easy ways to incorporate them into your daily eating plan.
‘Eat a rainbow’. Consider that your new healthy eating mantra. There are plenty of reasons to go colourful when it comes to your meal planning. You enjoy more variety, eat more antioxidant-rich foods and you’ll help your weight too, because you’ll eat more fresh produce.
For the whole family, try to include at least one different colour in each meal or snack across the da, and at least three different coloured foods at dinner time. Here are some excellent choices.
Benefits: Red foods are rich in lycopene, which studies suggest may help reduce the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer, and even protect the skin from UV damage.
Top Picks: Tomatoes, watermelon and red grapefruit.
- Grill halved tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and top with fresh basil.
- Make a refreshing, savoury salad of chopped watermelon, fresh mint leaves and 30g crumbled reduced-fat feta.
Benefits: Orange foods are high in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene. Research shows that, as well as strengthening our immune system, these may help protect and fight against cancer.
Top picks: Peaches, apricots, carrots, rockmelon, pumpkin and sweet potato.
- Pierce the skin of a medium (180g) sweet potato. Microwave until tender. Remove skin and mash.
- Wrap 1 slice prosciutto around rockmelon slices.
Benefits: Fresh green produce is carotenoid-heavy, and provides folate, which is important during pregnancy. Some other green vegies, like cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contain anti-cancer compounds.
Top picks: Kale, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, green beans and Asian greens.
- Toss baby spinach leaves into a two-egg omelette for breakfast
- Stir-fry broccolini, choy sum and bok choy with 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce.
Benefits: Purple food have pigments that may help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Top picks: Blueberries, purple carrots and red cabbage.
- Make a coleslaw of shredded purple cabbage, grated purple carrots, sliced red onion and a dressing made from 50g low-fat natural yoghurt, lemon juice and 1 tsp mustard.
- Combine blueberries, 45g oats and 50g low-fat Greek-style yoghurt. Place in the fridge overnight.
Benefits: Yellow foods have the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect our eyesight as we age.
Top picks: Nectarines, lemons, corn, yellow squash, and yellow capsicum.
- Cut the top off 1 yellow capsicum and remove the seeds. Stuff with a mixture of 1/2 cup (85g) boiled brown rice, garlic, lemon juice, and Middle Eastern spice. Roast until tender.
- Grill a corncob, in its husks, on the barbie.
What about White Foods?
White produce has benefits, too! Here are a few to include in your eating plan.
- Potatoes: A great source of Vitamin C and dietary fibre. Choose Low-GI varieties.
- Cauliflower: High in Vitamin C and a good source of potassium, folate and vitamin K.
- Garlic: Powerful antibacterial properties.