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How to Create a Colorful Plate and Eat the Rainbow

Do you find yourself pressed for time to create wholesome and nutritious meals? Living in a fast-paced society can often challenge our good intentions about choosing healthy foods.

My mornings start off in a hurry, getting three children to school and then initiating a workout around 8:00 a.m. Post-workout, a candy bar and bag of chips look rather enticing! However, this defeats the benefits of working out and trying to remain healthy.

Staying on track with healthy food consumption can be challenging.

Like most people, I make a concerted effort to eat right, but at the end of the day, I find my fruit and vegetable intake a bit deficient. Also, I’m a bit more focused on consuming carbohydrates than eating vegetables. This gets complicated since a person is supposed to eat the recommended three to five servings of vegetables, along with two to four servings of fruit each day.

It can be a little mind-boggling to remember everything! Eating should be a simple and enjoyable task, not work!

Next time you eat, strive for a colorful plate that resembles the rainbow. (If you find a pot of gold at the end, then your choices really paid off!)

What does Eat the Rainbow mean?

It’s a simple way of reminding us that a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet will get us the vitamins and minerals we need. It also draws attention to the fact that you can learn a lot about your food just by looking at it.

While at the Frisco Public Library recently, I found a beneficial book published by National Geographic called Foods for Health, written by Barton Seaver and P.K. Newby, Sc.D., M.P.H. The book inspired me to rethink what I ingest on a daily basis and strive to “eat the rainbow” or, create a colorful plate of food.

Foods for Health advises consumers on what to look for, how to choose, how to prepare and what to avoid in order to make best food choices, and it provides the nutrition facts of each fruit and vegetable.

Who knew that vegetables can double as carbohydrates??

I learned that spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli are carbohydrates! I’ve always regarded vegetables as a great source of fiber and vitamins but not as a way to consume carbs.

For example, spinach is high in protein, rich in vitamin K (promotes bone health), fiber and other beneficial nutrients that the body needs to function properly. Spinach is also considered a complex carbohydrate (carb that consists of three or more sugars and is rich in fiber).

Radishes are a vegetable I often forget about eating. You can eat both the red bulb and leafy greens. Radishes also are a complex carbohydrate and a good source of vitamin C (an antioxidant that boosts the immune system).

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples have a great amount of pectin (water-soluble fiber) which slows the absorption of cholesterol and sugar in the bloodstream. Apples are also a great carbohydrate choice because they’re slower to digest and allow a person to stay sated longer. In turn, this helps control weight.

Who knew you could eat vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, radishes, broccoli, spinach, green beans, cucumbers, asparagus, and zucchini, along with fruits such as apples, strawberries, grapefruit, and prunes to achieve your carbohydrate intake and meet all the daily food recommendations!

At lunch try to forgo the traditional white bread sandwich and chips. Next time you sit down for a meal, opt for a colorful plate consisting of a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Not only will your plate be filled with beautiful colors, you’ll also be consuming a nutritious meal packed with carbohydrates, vitamins, and protein!

How to Create a Colorful Plate

My personal go-to meal is a salad filled with spinach, purple cabbage, carrots, bok choy, and radishes drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette. I usually follow that with a piece of fruit to provide a sweet sensation. Every so often I’ll add various types of protein such as chicken, smoked salmon, nuts, or beans. This particular salad satisfies taste buds of all types.

To save time, I prepare plenty of sliced vegetables on Sunday night or Monday morning that will last several days in the refrigerator. That way, post-workout, when I’m ready to eat whatever is in sight, I’m more likely to grab a healthy option.

Local Options

Vitality Bowls in Frisco can help you create a colorful cuisine that is bursting with nutritional superfood goodness. Their acai bowls and smoothies are the foundation of the menu and an impressive rotation of superfoods, super-fruits, and traditional fruits have been compiled into a tantalizing menu.

Another Frisco favorite is Up Inspired Kitchen, who offers gluten-free, paleo and Whole 30 friendly dishes with the highest quality ingredients. They’re as dedicated to delicious as they are to health-conscious, giving you the best of both worlds.

What about the kids?

Do you have kids? Are you trying to figure out how to add the rainbow to their diet? Make fresh fruits and vegetables readily available and within eyesight of your little ones.

After school, kids are typically hungry and seek an immediate snack. Having a plate of fresh fruit available sets the stage for a healthy lifestyle. If they aren’t keen on vegetables have them try dipping their veggies in hummus, salsa, or ranch to make them more appealing.

I’ve even learned to disguise vegetables – on taco night our ‘lettuce’ consists of spinach, bok choy, cilantro, and romaine. Since we don’t call it out, our kids eat away. So get creative and you just might impress yourself and your kids may never know!

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