Food as Medicine: Eat Colorful Produce

  • Now that we have talked about how to buy the safest produce, it's also important to know how to incorporate it into your diet.  The recommendations for the average American is to consume three to five fruits and vegetables per day.  If you are already doing this then you are off to a good start!

    However, the recommended daily amount (RDA) of five fruits and veggies per day is only the first part of the equation. It is also important to get those servings from the most nutrient-dense produce.  One way to do this is to include produce with deep rich color.  It tends to have the most vitamins and inflammation-fighting properties.  

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    There are different color families in produce: Red/Purple/Blue, Green, Yellow/Orange and White.  Each contain different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  It is important to aim for a variety of these colors each day.  Be sure not to get into a rut and only eat the same foods every day either.  The more you vary these colorful foods the better off you are likely to be.

    If you've gotten this far then you might be thinking it would be so much simpler to just take a multivitamin.  While it might be easier it certainly won't be as beneficial to your health.  We  have yet to determine all of the micronutrients in our food or how they work together in our diets to increase absorption of vital nutrients.  We do know that vitamins and minerals obtained in our diets are better absorbed.  So, unless you have a deficiency, aim to get these nutrients from your food.

    If you are trying to get your kids to eat better, involve them in planning and making the meals.  Here is a yummy recipe that contains lots of color and flavor that is perfect for an early Spring or Summer barbecue.  It is also fun to make with older kids!

    Grilled Fruit Kebabs

    12- wooden skewers, soaked in water to prevent burning

    Fruit (cubed to 1 inch sized bites)

    1-medium pineapple
    2-medium mangos
    2-medium kiwi fruits

    Basting Sauce

    1/2 cup pineapple juice
    1-tbs organic honey
    2-tbs lime juice
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    Mix the basting ingredients in a small bowl.

    After soaking the skewers for an hour in water you can place fruit on them.  Baste the fruit with the basting sauce and grill until it browns slightly, about 10 minutes.  You can rebase the fruit with any remaining sauce after the kebobs are cooked. 


    If you like fruit dips, try a vanilla Greek yogurt for a healthy twist on dip.

Published On: April 16, 2014