Eat a Rainbow

A Fun Way to Get Kids Eating Fruits and Vegetables

 

Kids can eat a rainbow for good health.Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is considered one of the most important factors of a healthy lifestyle. Phytonutrients, the nutritional super heroes such as carotenoids, flavenoids, isoflavones, organosulfides, lignans, and polyphenols, along with other plant-based compounds, are getting a lot of well-deserved publicity these days.

Research indicates phytonutrients can stimulate the immune system; neutralize free radicals; balance hormone levels; and they also possess anti-viral and antibacterial properties. All of this means they can reduce the risk of the frightening and prevalent diseases of our time: from cancer, to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and more.

Okay, so the Fightin’ Phytos make great allies in the quest for good health, and healthy eating habits learned and practiced in childhood are likely to be continued throughout adulthood, but how can you get finicky kids to swallow all of this? Two seemingly unrelated, but very nearly universal truths spring to mind:
1) Kids often don’t want to eat foods that are good for them.
2) Kids love rainbows.

Try combining both truths for a fun and healthy activity where you are literally eating a rainbow!

Using the acronym for the colors of the rainbow, R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet – pronounced, ROY – gee – biv) work together to create a list containing as many fruits and vegetables as you can to represent each color.
Many foods (peppers, potatoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, plums, etc.) come in different colors, and can be added to more than one list, but just be sure that the part you are eating the colorful part(s) (i.e. one eats a red, yellow, or green apple peel, but not a red or yellow banana peel).

Once you have your lists in hand, it’s time for a family field trip! Local farmers markets are wonderful places for fresh and often, less expensive produce, but the supermarket will work in a pinch.

Purchase at least two or three items from each of your “rainbow lists”
and paper plates in each color (party store may be needed).

Prepare your fruits and veggies any way you choose. Many are quite delicious raw, but more nutrients are often released through gentle cooking. Plan recipes using your rainbow of ingredients prior to, or following your excursion. Serve them up on plates of corresponding colors (or ones decorated with non-toxic markers or crayons). Arrange them in an arc and take pictures of your eye-catching and lip-smacking rainbow, then enjoy!
The broader the spectrum of colors you and your kids consume on a regular basis, the more you’ll be following that rainbow to a treasure more precious than a pot of gold: a healthier, happier family!
Rainbow produce suggestions:

RED
Red apples
Tomatoes
Raspberries
Red pepper

ORANGE
Oranges
Carrots
Mangoes
Orange pepper

YELLOW
Yellow pepper
Yellow apples
Wax beans
Star fruit

GREEN
Lettuce
Green Beans
Broccoli
Green grapes

BLUE/INDIGO/VIOLET (a.k.a. Purple)
Blue and black berries
Purple cabbage
Blue potatoes (and chips)
Eggplant
Plums
Figs
Grapes (blue/purple)

Note- did you know you can buy yellow and purple cauliflower?

About The Author

Elena Bennett
Elena Bennett writes poems, stories, and songs for both children and adults. Raised in New York City and Cape Cod, she received her B.A. in psychology with a focus on Child Development from Connecticut College. She is also an award-winning singer. Her critically acclaimed big band album, A Wrinkle in Swingtime, is available on iTunes and at many stores online.

9 Responses to Eat a Rainbow

  1. someone says:

    This was really informative

  2. ganz102 says:

    nice article!

  3. Marie says:

    I always eat colorful!

  4. Cooker says:

    My kids are gonna love that

  5. nanny says:

    I will copy this article and post it on the fridge. For all to see.

  6. stacey says:

    What a great new website for parents!

  7. Ganz Parent Club Help says:

    Thank you for taking the time to leave positive feedback!

  8. mrw says:

    Let’s not forget yams (with the orange insides) and the multiple varieties of squash, beets, and other root vegetables. Want a yummy way to eat them? cube as many kinds as you want *for most of these veggies-no need to peel. just scrub wwell and cube). Put them in a gallon zipper storage bag with a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil and spices and herbs that appeal to you-oregano, cumin, onions, chives, garlic and so on. Shake and rotate the bag until the veggies are coated with oil and spices. Spread them out on a cookie sheet with sides or a 9 X 13 baking pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes and serve as they are or with something like a light ranch dressing to dip them. leftovers make a great snack even cold.

  9. Thora says:

    This was so fun! Thank you!