Key Concept #4... Add Some Color

Taste The Rainbow...

One of the best ways to increase nutrition is to increase the color palate on your plate. See, we’re used to speaking about nutrition using verbiage like calories, protein, carbs and fats. This is really the extent of general knowledge people have about food and how it nourishes our bodies.

I’ve said this before, but I think it’s important for us as a society to speak in greater detail about nutrition and learn how food really does support our health and nourish our bodies on a cellular level. We can also start to explore the healing properties of food, looking at the grocery store as a pharmacy and a way to support our health.

So without further ado I would like to introduce you to phytonutrients.  “Phyto” coming from the Greek word plant. These P.N.’s (phytonutrients) act as protection to the plant, and the sources of the plant’s nutrients are their beautiful, vibrant colors. In our bodies, P.N.’s support cellular function and communication. They also trigger the proper enzymatic and biochemical reactions in the body, P.N.’’s support a healthy immune system, are detoxifying, balance the hormonal system and are filled with anti-oxidative properties, All in all they’re supporting the inner most workings of your body.

Back to the rainbow….

Generally speaking, foods similar in color despite taste and texture will be sources of similar phytonutrient. One of the more common examples I can think of is beta-carotene in the orange family. Perhaps it’s a sweet potato, a carrot, or melon, or even an apricot, all of these plant foods have a significant amount of beta carotene.

For those of you that want to nerd out with me, I’m attaching a chart of foods divided by color, the phytonutrients and the benefits here!

Otherwise, lets keep a truck’n and speak about ways to apply this knowledge to your everyday life.

Make your plate colorful. When designing your meals, aim for them to include every color of the rainbow.     

This can be easier than you think. You can prepare a mixture of multi colored vegetable on your meal prep day. Add them cold to a salad, or quickly steam/sautee for your dinner. While I don’t love using pre-packaged mixes because of the wasteful packaging, I see how they can support you and I will offer you this. Many stores offer salad mixes that are colorful and all ready to go. Picking up one of these can save you time, energy and support you nutritionally.

Think of your day in terms of colors. 

Perhaps you’ll get your red and purple from berries in your morning oatmeal. For a snack you reach for an orange. Green salad for lunch with rainbow colored veggies. Don’t forget white and yellow are a part of the color spectrum too! So for dinner you round it out with a jicama and yellow corn black bean salad a top the protein of your choice. 

I’m including this “looking at the whole day thing” because there was a point in my life where I topped my oatmeal with raises, had a handful of red grapes for a snack, boiled beets for my salad and drank red wine in the evening. Of course I had other veggies in my diet, but I was definitely favoring the red family. It’s also easy to do this with greens. Greens are great, but kid, you gotta get some color! 

I’m hoping that this “eat the rainbow” concept will inspire you to get creative with your meals. If you do nothing else but add more colors to the dishes you’re already habituated to making, I believe it can make a huge difference! 

On an even bigger level, I hoping this introduction to phytonutrients gets you thinking about how powerful what you put on the end of your fork is. It’s no joke when they say you are what you eat. 

I’d love to hear what you think about this concept as I believe it is one of the easiest to implement. What’s your favorite dish and how can you make it more colorful?

Check out this reference guide to colorful foods and their related nutrients!