When you think of a rainbow of food do you think of sprinkles, icing, colourings and sweets or maybe do you think of bright and vibrant vegetables and fruits? It’s not a bad thing if you think of the first option!! But maybe don’t eat a rainbow of those foods on a regular basis. Fruit and Vegetables on the other hand – you should eat a rainbow of these every day!
Different coloured foods have different benefits to them and to make sure your body is getting everything it needs it is important to eat a wide variety of colours. Just like you wouldn’t only eat one food group every meal time then you also shouldn’t only eat one type of vegetable every time.
Now I shop on a budget so I understand that it can be daunting to try to buy tonnes of vegetables which eventually might just go off in the fridge but here is a list of a few fruits and vegetables which I love and find easy to incorporate into my every day diet.
RED: Peppers, Tomatoes, Chillis, Red Onions, Strawberries, Apples, Rhubarb, Cherries and Watermelon etc.
I have focused on Red Peppers as I love eating them with salads, in stirfries, as crudites with hummus, stuffed with more veggies, roasted and added to pasta, chopped and sprinkled on pizza, added to soups or even blended into a smoothie with other fruits and vegetables.~
They are extremely versatile and will be happy to be cooked in so many different ways. They have high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6 along side a very long list of other vitamins. They also provide a source of fibre and have hardly any calories!
Best Eaten: Raw in a salad.
ORANGE: Carrots, Butternut Squash, Oranges, Pumpkin, Peaches, Mangoes.
Out of all the orange fruits and vegetables the main vegetable in my fridge every week is the carrot! Again it is so versatile and can be used in soups, stews, sliced thinly into stirfries, grated onto salads or in sandwiches, cut into sticks as a snack with dips, roasted as a side dish, mashed in with your potatoes for a more colourful mash. They contain Carotene (which is turned into Vitamin A), Vitamin B, Vitamin C and they are packed with anti-oxidants and can lower cholesterol.
Best Eaten: Unpeeled and roasted with some spray oil then mashed.
YELLOW: Lemons, Bananas, Yellow Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Pineapples
I love lemons and use them often in my cooking and also in other meals. For example the other day I had a slice of lemon in a mug with fresh mint and a drizzle of honey with hot water and it was lovely. The zest and juice can add a fresh flavour to meals, it can be roasted or chargrilled for depth of flavour, slices can be added to soups and stews, it can be preserved and added to tagines. It’s lovely for sweets and savouries! It’s a great source of Vitamin C and it is good for your immune system. Also adding lemon juice to an Iron rich source such as spinach will help your body absorb the Iron better.
Best Eaten: Squeezed over some steamed greens.
GREEN: Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, Peas, Limes, Salad leaves, Mange Tout, Apples, Grapes, Asparagus
I think Green vegetables are the easiest to fit into your diet! There are so many options and varieties. My favourite is Spinach and I do think I get through a bag a week easily! With greens you should remember that the darker the leaf the better for you – and Spinach is a very deep green colour! Spinach contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 etc. You can eat it raw in salads and sandwiches, steamed, stirfried, in soups, stews, pasta, any kind of sauce, as a side dish, in a curry and many more ways.
Best Eaten: In a soup with garlic, lemon and butter beans
PURPLE: Pomegranate, Aubergine, Red Cabbage, Prunes, Figs, Plums, Purple Carrots, Beetroot
I think Aubergine is probably my most eaten “purple” vegetable however I am focusing on Pomegranates here because I have been loving them recently! They have no cholesterol or saturated fat, it is high in fibre and has plenty of that good old Vitamin C. It also has Vitamin B, Calcium and Magnesium. It’s said as well that it can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It’s not as versatile as some of the other purple contenders but my favourite way to have a pomegranate is to squeeze all of the juice from the seeds into a jug, add slices of lemon, plenty of ice and sparkling water. It’s a gorgeous pink coloured healthy drink! Much better than fruit squash. You can also pick out the seeds to snack on, add to salads, cous cous or rice etc.
Best Eaten: On a Sunny day.
So there you go, a little inspiration to get some colourful food into your diet x