What color is on your kid’s plate during meal time? Blue, red, purple, green, yellow… YUM YUM! Well the most common color on kid’s plate is beige or white (pasta, chicken nuggets, etc..). March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme for promoting healthy habits in children is to “Eat Right by Color”. How fun! It turns out that color is the best way to understand the nutritional density of the fruit or vegetable. The darker the color, the more nutrient dense the fruit or vegetable. The great thing about this breakdown is that you can substitute alternatives from the same color group to get the same nutrients.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutrients for the different color along with some recipe ideas.
|Color||Benefits||Fruit & Veggies||Recipes on yumkid.com|
|Purple/Blue||Good sources of antioxidants like anthocyanin (they make blueberries a super food).||Purple grapes, plums, raisins, dried plums, purple asparagus, purple cabbage, purple carrots, eggplant , purple potatoes||Blueberry Yogurt Parfait, Cherry Plum Olive Salad|
|Yellow and Orange||Rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and immune boosters like beta carotene||Apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, organs, tangerines, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes||Orange Avocado Mint Salad , Pumpkin pancakes, Moroccan Inspired Carrots, Sweet Potato fries.|
|Red||Great resource of health promoting compounds such as lycopene, which has been found to fight cancer||Cherries, cranberries, red grapes, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, beets, red peppers, tomatoes||Watermelon Popsicle (Zoku), Beetroot Rice, Strawberry-tini for kids, peanut butter and jelly the healthy way, Strawberry Mint Puree|
|Green||Lots of folates and carotenoids. Folates help produce red cells, fight anemia and prevent cancer from messing with your DNA. More carotenoids means reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.||Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, leafy greens, peas, snow peas, spinach, zucchini||Brussels Sprouts salad, Roasted Broccoli, Lentils with Spinach|
Here are 5 ways in which you can include this concept in your daily lives:
1) Pick 2 colors for the day. So on that day you only eat fruits and vegetables from that color source. Better yet, have your child pick the colors.
2) Go all out when eating that color – maybe you match your plates or glasses or napkins with the color you are eating to make it more fun.
3) Pick the color or the favorite color of your child’s favorite Cartoon character. i.e. Dora loves purple – so maybe you eat purple, or SpongeBob is yellow so you eat yellow etc. This can get the child excited and interested in trying something especially since his/her fav. Character loves the color.
4) Have a rewards system or a color chart that lets you keep track of what veggies and fruits you are eating by color and have the goal to hit all the colors during the day.
5) Have the fruits and vegetables to the color the kids are wearing that day.