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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.

ColorFruitsVegetables
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

If you are ready to brighten your next meal, then 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:

  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 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:

Choose My Plate—US Department of Agriculture
http://www.choosemyplate.gov

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
http://www.eatright.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

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

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

References:

Dairy. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html. Updated July 29, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2017.

Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Accessed May 2, 2017.

Fruits. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits.html. Accessed May 2, 2017.

Grains. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains.html. Updated October 18, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2017.

Protein foods. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods.html. Updated July 29, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2017.

Vegetables. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables.html. Updated April 5, 2017. Accessed May 2, 2017.



Last reviewed May 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP

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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