“Taste the Rainbow” is the motto for the candy Skittles, but it’s a wonderful way to approach eating fruits and vegetables, in order to make sure you get the wide variety of nutrients they offer.
“Lots of different colors, so your orange, your green, your purple - they all have their purpose, and it’s all good to get them all in,” said Anita Grinevics, the Clinical Nutrition Supervisor for Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MA, part of the Trinity Health of New England network.
“Definitely think of color so you can think about this with family or meal planning for the week, ‘Hey did we get any orange foods in this week,’ “ she said, “and make it fun, do it with the kids.”
Doctor Shilpa Shetty, an endocrinologist with Trinity Health of New England, said each color tends to have its own vitamin and nutrient profile.
“Your oranges and your reds? They’re generally going to be rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which is important for vision, and C, which is in most citrus fruits, and that’s important to fight infection,” she said, “green leafy vegetables are going to have a lot of iron, a lot of vitamin K, vitamin A.”
Fruits and vegetables are also loaded with fiber, which helps you to feel full and regulate blood sugar intake. Grinevics said most people aren’t getting nearly enough.
“Most people are only getting about nine to eleven grams of fiber a day,” she said, “we need about 25 to 30.”
However, Dr. Shetty said if you focus on filling half your plate each meal with fruits and veggies, then you shouldn’t have to worry about doing the math.
“As long as you’re eating healthy, as long as you’re making healthy food choices, I wouldn’t get hung up on a number,” she said.