A lot of people have become conditioned to expect a large piece of protein to be the centerpiece of their meal. However, fruits and vegetables should be the star of a meal while protein or meat is considered the garnish. This is because fruits and vegetables give us more health benefits and are less likely to cause digestion problems and are even known to help alleviate constipation or blocks in the digestive system.
So what does “eating the rainbow” actually mean? According to Harvard Health Publishing, you should be eating a variety of different colored foods because they contain phytonutrients. There are 25,000 different kinds of phytonutrients, which are chemicals produced by plants that protect the fruit from things like insects or UV rays. The phytonutrients are what give each vegetable and fruit their color. When we eat these foods and ingest the chemicals, they start working in similar ways and begin protecting our bodies from harm.
It is important to note that in order to get the phytonutrients, the part of the fruit or vegetable that is a color needs to be ingested. For example, if you eat red apples you need to leave the skin on so you can get the phytonutrients from the red color in the skin. There is no one color that is technically more beneficial than another which is why it is so important to include every color of the rainbow in your diet. Phytonutrients have been found to help protect against prostate cancer, heart and lung disease, blood clots, carcinogens, and tumors.
The younger your kids are when you start implementing a healthy diet the more normal they will think it is. If you instead normalize getting fast food every night for dinner and then try to switch to a plant-based diet, your kids might struggle a bit but just remind them that they will start seeing the benefits in no time.
If you have a picky eater finding vegetables they like might seem like a nightmare. Don’t blame or punish your child for not liking certain foods. Instead, try getting creative with the way you serve vegetables and fruit or keep searching until you find the ones they enjoy. You should always make conversations regarding food positive so your child can grow up having a healthy relationship with food.
By // Jessica Lee
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