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A balanced diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy. Varying the color and types of foods in your diet will ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that you need to stay healthy.

Add Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

An easy way to add color to your diet is to include a variety of fruits and vegetables. Produce tastes best and has the most nutrients when it is in season, and most of these foods are low-calorie, low-fat, and low-sodium.

ColorFruitsVeggies
GreenAvocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwiAsparagus, broccoli, green peppers, leafy greens
Orange and deep yellowApricot, cantaloupe, mango, pineappleCarrots, yellow pepper, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
Purple and blueBlackberries, blueberries, plums, raisinsEggplant, purple cabbage, purple-fleshed potato
RedCherries, cranberries, pomegranate, strawberriesBeets, red peppers, rhubarb, tomatoes
White, tan, and brownBanana, brown pear, dates, white peachesCauliflower, mushrooms, onions, turnips, white corn

Are you ready to brighten your next meal? Here are some quick tips!

ColorFood Ideas
Green
  • Add broccoli, spinach, or green peppers to pizza.
  • Add sliced apple to a salad.
Orange and deep yellow
  • Bake your own sweet potato fries.
  • Use yellow pepper instead of green pepper in recipes.
Purple and blue
  • Add blueberries to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
Red
  • Add strawberries to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  • Add red peppers and tomatoes to an omelet or scrambled eggs.
White, tan, and brown
  • Add banana slices to a peanut butter sandwich.
  • Try mashed parsnips and/or turnips instead of mashed potatoes.
Finding Fresh Foods

Some sources for fresh, colorful foods include:

  • Join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). These programs allow you to eat in color and in season. Some farms offer quarter-share or half-share options, fruit shares, and eggs. You can find a participating farm near you on the Local Harvest website.
  • Buy goods at a farmer’s market. Some farms participate in winter markets so you can buy fresh local produce all year.
  • Start a home garden. It is economical and a great way to get kids involved.

RESOURCES:

Dietary Guidelines
http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov

ChooseMyPlate
http://www.choosemyplate.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References:

Dairy. United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html. Accessed September 27, 2013.

Fruits. United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits.html. Accessed September 27, 2013.

Grains. United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains.html. Accessed September 27, 2013.

Protein foods. United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods.html. Accessed September 27, 2013.

Vegetables. United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables.html. Accessed September 27, 2013.



Last reviewed October 2013 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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