Eat the Rainbow Nutrition Challenge
March is National Nutrition Month, which, as a dietitian, makes it feel like my month! Although healthy eating can seem complicated and overwhelming, the overall principles of what makes up a healthy diet are pretty basic. The principle that is often most lacking in peoples diets is adequate fruit/vegetable intake.
March also happens to include St. Patrick’s Day, so I want to challenge you to “eat the rainbow” this month. That means I’d like you to include fruit or vegetables from the colors of the rainbow into your eating plan. Indigo’s a tough one to find, so we’ll leave that one out, and add in white, instead. I challenge you to eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day this month—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and white.
There are a few reasons for this colorful array of nutritious foods. First, it’s a visual cue for you to remember to eat more fruits and veggies. This is important for healthy eating, because these foods provide lots of nutrients without lots of calories. Second, I hope this encourages you to try new foods that aren’t usually in your diet. Third, different colors mean different nutrients, so you can get a larger variety into your diet—you might even touch on nutritional areas that you’ve been lacking in! For example, blueberries have different vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical (like antioxidants), compared to oranges.
Another reason to increase your variety is your gut microbiome (or all the little bugs in your GI system). Research from the American Gut project study is emerging to show that greater diet variety leads to greater microbial diversity which appears to be important for disease prevention and overall health. Researchers are recommending 30 or more different plant foods a week. Now plant-based foods include more than fruits and vegetables, but diversifying your fruit and vegetable intake is a great place to start.
Our recipes always try to incorporate lots of colors, so browse our blog for ideas, or even create and share your own colorful meals. We want to see your ideas, so share with us how you’re completing this challenge by using #eattherainbow and #ifitnutritionchat. Take the challenge and follow your rainbow of veggies and fruits to nutrition gold!