Eat Right with Color

Carol Lynch  |  10/14/2016 3:07:06 PM

March is National Nutrition Month, which is sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association.

To eat right with color, begin with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors – red, purple, orange, green, and white – but their real beauty lies in what’s inside. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

For optimum health, create a colorful plate with these naturally beautiful hues:

  • Tomatoes, red peppers, cranberries, cherries and other naturally red foods will help maintain a healthy heart, memory function and urinary tract health.
  • Blue/purple foods such as blueberries, purple grapes, purple cabbage and others help maintain healthy aging, memory and urinary tract health.
  • Yellow/orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, oranges and pumpkins also help maintain a healthy heart, immune system and night-vision.
  • Green fruits and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kiwi, green grapes and green peppers help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • White foods like bananas, garlic, apples, onions and cauliflower help maintain heart health and lower the risk of some cancers.

Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. Be sure to use a normal or small size plate and not a platter.

Instead of a high calorie snack from a vending machine, bring some ready-to-eat vegetables or fruit from home. One snack-size bag of corn chips (1 ounce) has the same number of calories as a small apple, 1 cup of whole strawberries and 1 cup of carrots with ¼ cup of low-calorie dip. Select one or two of these choices instead of the chips, and you will have a nutritious, satisfying snack with fewer calories.

MyPyramid recommends 2 cups fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day meal plan. For the most health benefits, consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors each day. Remember “5 A Day the Color Way”!

Diane Uzzle, Financial Resource Management Agent, Family Consumer Sciences, LSU AgCenter, 2710 Maple Street, Arcadia, Louisiana.

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