Oh My Goodness! March is National Nutrition Month! And it’s almost over…
Sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”
What perfect timing! As we are coming out of the winter months, our bodies are beginning to waken up to the coming spring and for most of us, that can’t get here soon enough.
Did you know that during this time of year our bodies start moving away from the heavier more refined foods of winter and craving the lighter foods of spring? That means more greens and fresh vegetables in our diets.
Why not embrace the notion of National Nutrition Month and get a head start on lightening your body? Use this as an opportunity to “embrace the rainbow” of fresh fruits and vegetables.
How do you do that? Try to eat as many different colors that you can everyday – and no, that doesn’t include Skittles, M&Ms or Gummi Bears.
Color is nature’s way of broadcasting the nutrition of food. Each color represents different phytonutrients contained in that fruit or vegetable. The darker the color, the more nutrients it has in store for you. Take lettuce for example; Romaine contains more nutritional value than iceberg. If you make this one simple substitution in your diet, you give your body more of the nutrients it craves to function at its very best. For example, when you are eating an orange vegetable you are getting beta-carotene that is good for your eyes and vision. A blueberry’s color is due to the antioxidant called anthocyanin that helps prevent the destructive damage to our cells from free radicals. But there are different anthocyanins and each has a different role to play; so eat some blackberries, or be daring, and get an eggplant as well!
Remember, the more intense the color, the more phytonutrients packed inside.
So this week as you are shopping the grocery store, think about how you can do your body good! Hopefully by the time you get to the end of the produce department, you can look down into your cart and “see the rainbow.” A feast for your eyes, in more way than one!
Here are some ideas of what you can buy for your rainbow. Some are very familiar, others might be a bit new to you. I even had to look one up (can you tell which one?) Why not take this opportunity to try something different and add it to your diet? Who knows, it might become your new favorite!
Vegetables: Tomato, Red pepper, beet, red onion, chili pepper, radish, rhubarb
Fruits: strawberry, pomegranate, red and pink grapefruit, apple, raspberry, blood orange, cranberry, red grape, red pear, guava
Vegetables: carrots, persimmon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, yams, butternut squash, kabocha squash
Fruits: oranges, papaya, apricot, cantaloupe, mango, nectarine, peach
Vegetables: yellow pepper, summer squash, yellow tomato, corn, rutabaga,
Fruits: pineapple, pear, yellow watermelon, lemon, gooseberry, carambola (starfruit), banana
Vegetables: green leafy vegetables such as kale, swiss chard, collard greens, escarole, parsley, asparagus, zucchini, peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, artichoke, arugula, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, green beans, celery, chayote, cucumber, endive, leek, lettuce, scallion, okra, green pepper, spinach, watercress,
Fruits: green apple, kiwi, lime, avocado, honeydew
Vegetables: eggplant, red cabbage (it really is more purple than red!), olives, endive, black salsify
Fruits: blueberries, Concord grapes, blackberries, black currant, elderberries, plum, fig, passion fruit, purple asparagus (Yes, it exists!),