Lately we’ve been talking a whole lot about healthy foods – not that it’s really a new topic at our table, but my son has been very curious lately about the foods he sees his friends eating at school. Well, maybe curious isn’t the right word – he is aware.
We’ve really gone back to basics in talking about what really constitutes a healthy choice and what does not. For me, basics with kids means talking about COLOUR and how important eating a rainbow of colourful foods is. We started naming all the foods we knew that were green, orange, red, purple, etc. We made our list – it was a very long and what a completely healthy list it was! Now, I know some of you are saying, yes, but my kids would say smarties are colourful, suckers, fruitloops, etc! Those don’t count because….. THEY’RE NOT FOOD! If it doesn’t fall into a food group, it’s not food! So! With rainbows on our minds, we decided to pack lunches together this week and fill each day with a different colour. Here are couple of our lunches from this week:
Green seems to be the easiest colour in our house. We always have plenty of green things. Here, Owen chose baby cucumbers, green olives, snap peas and kiwi. To this we added baked chicken fingers with parsley (green) and a multi grain crumpet with goats milk cheddar and green mustard. The green mustard is by Maille and is AMAZING! You must try it – it’s loaded with herbs and adds such a punch of flavour to nearly anything!
ORANGE and RED
We put red and orange together because, well… we didn’t have much in the house that morning ;o) Sarah chose carrots, red peppers, and red grapes. The gluten free crackers were orange-y coloured to her as was the red pepper hummus to dip them in. Inside the wax paper bag is a grilled cheese made with gluten free bread and orange Diaya cheese. The cucumbers were added because, “I love them mommy”. Hard to say no to that.
Some quick nutrition facts using the RAINBOW idea:
GREEN foods have a nearly uncountable nutrition content - Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these fruits and vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity…. whew! Lots of reasons to love GREEN! And if that’s not enough…..
They are filled with the building blocks to help your body heal and repair itself and make new cells. In order to make these new cells as well as build and strengthen muscles, your body needs protein. Dark leafy greens contain all the amino acids necessary for your body to create protein.
Lastly, if eaten raw, they are packed with water which saves your body energy in digestion, not to mention the wonderful anti aging effects. Feeling green yet? Puts whole new meaning to going green huh? Get some greens, eat them with your kids – YUM!
ORANGE and YELLOW fruits and vegetables contain beta carotine, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macula degeneration (your precious eyes – remember your mom saying, carrots are good for your eyes?! She was right!) and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones. Pretty intense huh?
BLUE and PURPLE fruits and vegetables contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, reversatrol (yep – you heard it that anti aging “miracle” is right here, in your foods!), vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Similar to the orange and yellow foods nutrients, these nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells. Another wallop of wonders!
Get started today! Teach your kids about the importance of eating a piece of the rainbow everyday!! Here are some ideas to get you started…. thankfully, nature provided an enormous selection of colourful goodness….
GREEN - artichokes, arugula, asperagus, avocados, broccoli, broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts, celery, chayote squash, chinese cabbage, cucumbers, endive, green apples, green beans, cabbage, grapes, green onion, green pears, green pepper, honeydew melon, kiwi, leafy greens (salad mixes), leeks, lettuce, limes, okra, peas, sno peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, watercress, zucchini.
RED - beets, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, guava, papaya, pink grepefruit, red grapefruit, pomegranate, radicchio, radish, raspberries, red apples, red peppers, red grapes, red onion, red pears, red potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon…
YELLOW and ORANGE - apricots, bananas, butternut squash, canteloupe, gooseberrries, carrots golden kiwi, golden raspberries, grapefruit, lemon, mango, nectarines, oranges papaya, parsnips, peaches, persimmons, pineapple, pumpkin, rutabaga, sweet corn, sweet potatoe, tangerine, turnip, yellow apples, yellow beets, yellow figs, yellow pears, yellow peppers, yellow potatoes, yellow summer squash, yellow heirloom tomatoes, golden watermelon, winter squash…
BLUE and PURPLE - black currants, black salsify, bladkberries, blueberries, dates, dried plums, eggplant, elderberries, grapes, plums, pomegranates, purnes, purple belgain endive, purple potatoes, purple asparagus, purple cabbage, purple carrots, purple figs, purple grapes, purple onion, purple peppers, raisins, shallots…