You hear it all the time when it comes to fashion. Add a pop of color.
Wearing a LBD? Add a pop of color with red heels! Sticking to neutral colors? Throw on a chunky colorful necklace! Wearing white? Add a hot pink belt!
I used to define my life as beige. I didn’t realize it at the time, but everything in my house was beige. Even the art on the wall was shades of beige. My wardrobe, too, was pretty void of color. Mostly black and white, and the few items I did have that were colorful, well, those were mostly relegated to either the back of the closet, or sat on the bottom of a pile, teasing me… daring to be worn.
For many people, this same description can be used to describe their food. Lots of beige – or, even worse, white. White rice, white sugar, white potatoes, white bread. Maybe you’re intrigued by the colorful foods in the produce aisle. You buy them, bring them home, and they sit, getting pushed to the back of the drawer like the red sweater in my closet does.
But just like the fashion industry knows the power of a pop of color — clearly nature does too, because that’s where the health benefits are!
The brighter the color of the food – and we’re talking real, nature-made color, not artificially added color like Peeps – the more health benefits. And getting that pop of color in your diet is so easy to do!
So, let’s run down the rainbow of super pretty super foods and how you can incorporate them into your diet.
RED: Tomatoes. Super high in antioxidants, especially the heart healthy lycopene. While I’m personally, not a huge sandwich eater, if you are, put tomato on your sandwich, even better, slice some up in a salad. Throw some sliced tomato, cucumber and avocado in a bowl with some salt, pepper and EVOO and you have a refreshing and satisfying snack or pre-entree delight. Personally, I love, love, love grape tomatoes and eat them like a snack.
Tomatoes do come with a bit of warning, though. They’re in the category of foods known as nightshade vegetables, along with eggplant and potatoes. These have been linked in some research to impact the muscles and/or joints and are not necessarily for everyone. If you notice you don’t react well to them, find another red food like red peppers to incorporate in your diet.
Strawberries are also a great choice for red food. They’re at the top of the list for antioxidant levels in fruit. Eat them fresh as snacks, add to a spinach salad or freeze them and add to smoothies. You can also throw them in the blender to liquify them a little. To me, that’s even better than sorbet!
If you’re a juicer, I encourage you to try watermelon/strawberry juice. It’s heavenly!! ok… I’ll stop here with the red foods and move n down ROY G. BIV….
ORANGE: Sweet potatoes are a great source of orange food! There’s nothing like sweet potatoes for beta-carotene and vitamin A. To get the maximum beta-carotene benefits, add a little fat like coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil These are great just steamed or baked. I personally love to make sweet potato fries with a little cinnamon. Just slice it, toss it with a little oil, and throw them in the oven on a baking sheet at 350 for about 40 minutes, flipping them half way through.
GREEN: This goes without saying that leafy greens and green veggies having incredible nutritional benefits from antioxidants to iron. My newest obsession is kale salad – rip up some curly kale, add a shake of salt to break it down a little, squeeze some lime juice, and add either a bit of tahini or avocado. I add grape tomotoes or sundried tomatoes and some raw sunflower seeds and seriously can’t get enough of it.
Not a kale lover (yet), steam or roast broccoli for a side dish or to add to some brown rice, keep cut up raw broccoli on hand to dip into hummus, snack on raw green beans or snap peas during the day, add edamame to your salad or whole grains.
Green foods may not only be the healthiest, but they also may be the easiest foods to eat every day!
BLUE: Blueberries!! Need I say more. They’re so high in antioxidants (there’s that word again). I get that blueberries can be expensive when they’re not in season and that can be a deterrent for some people. If that’s the case, buy them in large quantities when they are in season and freeze them. My mom enjoys them straight out of the freezer, but they can also be added to smoothies or a green juice.
PURPLE: OK, I admit it, I”m taking the easy way out and combining indigo and violet in the rainbow, but, really, does anyone really know the difference?? Purple cabbage. It’s probably something you think of more as decoration in a salad or on a plate than something you would eat by choice. But, I promise, it’s really good for you and good tasting! I’ve recently started adding it to my kale salads, but you can also use it like taco shell. Take one of the outer leaves and add some brown rice, black beans and guacamole. Wrap it up and you have a hand-help delight!
With all of these amazing options, there’s no reason to eat a beige plate again!! Not to mention, it’s so much prettier to look at!