We have all heard it before, but what does eating the rainbow really mean and why do we need to do it? It simply refers to getting as many different coloured fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. Why? As a general rule, each different coloured vegetable or fruit contains a range of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Red vegetables contain an antioxidant called lycopene;
Purple/blue fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanin, which protects cells from damage;
Orange vegetables and fruits contain carotenoids, some of which are converted to vitamin A, which helps with eyesight;
Leafy greens are a good source of folate and iron;
Brown/white vegetables and fruit contain potassium.
In an ideal world, we would consume five serves of vegetables a day. Most people are lucky to achieve half this. Does that seem impossible to achieve? It doesn’t have to be. Say you have two to three serves of cooked vegies or salad every night with dinner; work backwards - all you need to do is find room for another two or three serves a day.
Breakfast: If you have eggs for breakfast, consider putting quarter of an avocado on your toast and cook some tomato and spinach on the side - that’s at least another one or two serves. Or if you have toast with Vegemite, swap it for toast with tomato and mushrooms.
Lunch: Obviously by having a salad with a protein component you’ll be pretty close to meeting your requirements, but if that doesn’t take your fancy, why not try a wrap with tuna and salad, which will cover at least a serve. Chicken and vegetable soup will contain about one serve, or if you’re a sucker for a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, add some tomato, mushroom and baby spinach and you can count that as one serve.
Snacks: If you are having nibbles with cheese and dips, add a whole heap of cut-up vegie sticks – carrot, celery, cucumber, capsicum, even cherry tomatoes. Not only will it make your platter look nice, it will give you an alternative to crackers for your dip or cheese. Vegie sticks for a mid-afternoon work snack or even a good old stick of celery with peanut butter or cream cheese will count for close to one serve a day.
All of the Be Fit Food meals and soups have four to 12 different vegetables, ensuring that a variety of vitamins and minerals are present in every meal. If you are following the Be Fit Food meal plans, make the most of the unlimited low-starch vegetables that are part of the plan to ensure that you are meeting your five serves a day.