The Colors of Health: Fruits and Veggies — More Matters

Nutritional campaigns promoting good health have become necessary because we are too lazy and spoiled to think about what we are eating. Once upon a time, before phrases like 5 A Day and the eye-catching pyramids that define nutritional guidelines, people sat down to meals complete with servings of fruits and vegetables.

Balancing one’s diet is nothing new. No doubt my grandparents must have had mealtimes without fruit on the table when grandma didn’t have time to open a jar from the fruit cellar. Yet they seemed to use instinctive understanding that made fruits and vegetables a part of most of their meals.

My mother planned our menus keeping a kind of complementary food color-coding in mind. When we had fish (a light-colored food), she would serve a bright vegetable with it like carrots or corn instead of, say, cauliflower.

I tend to think in terms of her color-coded menus. When we have pasta with tomato sauce, I feel that a tomato-based French dressing on our salad should be ruled out (too much of the same thing). My husband disagrees. Though I used to try to steer him my way, I ignore his pouring the French while I reach for Italian.

Problems with nutrition in today’s world go beyond color. Putting a fruit and vegetable of any color on our plates is a challenge when the fast-food world has been telling us for 50 years that a burger, fries and a milkshake makes a meal.
Almost everyone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors, but their real beauty lies in what’s inside. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

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 and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. What’s more, substituting fruits and vegetables for higher-calorie foods can be part of a weight loss strategy.

Fruits & Veggies — More Matters is a dynamic health initiative that consumers will see in stores, online, at home and on packaging. It replaces the existing 5 A Day awareness program and will leverage the 5 A Day heritage and success to further inspire and support consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) are leading this initiative and are in partnership with other health organizations.

This week’s recipes are from their Web site: www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.
The goal is to achieve increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, and white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.

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