Be Well

Why You Should Practice Rainbow Eating

You probably first heard the phrase “Eat the rainbow” in one of two places: a Skittles commercial, or your pediatrician’s office as a kid. While the former may have been a fun ad for the candy, the latter is still great, practical advice for eating well beyond your childhood years.
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“Rainbow Eating” as it’s called, means simply eating a wide range of colors that are found naturally in different fruits and vegetables. The basic idea is that one’s diet should cover all colors of the rainbow and that this balance would also thereby include all the nutrients and vitamins that one should be consuming regularly anyway.

The system first gained popularity with children because asking kids to “eat the rainbow” based on colors is a lot easier than getting them to grasp asking them to make sure they have “B-12, K, E, C, and Calcium” on their plates for dinner. The system also works as a great way for adults to not overthink their eating habits and makes it easier to have a well-rounded diet without having to buy the week’s groceries with a textbook of what foods include what vitamins. Now, going to Whole Foods (the less-fun side of colorful eating) can be as simple as looking for certain colors in the produce section and jumping into that line as quickly as possible.

Each color section of fruits and vegetables generally covers different sections of vitamins and nutrients. For example, yellow fruits and vegetables like squash or citrus are full of vitamins C and A, which help keep your immune system healthy and keep you from getting sick. Green foods like Kale, Asparagus, or avocados, include vitamins K, B, and E, which help make blood and bones healthier and also help the body’s metabolism and energy levels. The important thing to remember though is that rainbow eating offers a guideline to people with their diets. If you only ate oranges, lemons, apples, and grapes, the natural sugars in that much fruit still aren’t very healthy and don’t include other ingredients and nutrients in the other foods. Rainbow eating is not a way to cheat real dieting toward a healthier life; it’s a system to loosely point you in the right direction to a healthy, balanced diet. 

Rainbow eating also helps expand people’s palates to exploring new foods. Learning to love a new ingredient like cauliflower or kale may make for a great gateway to finding an even more delicious meal the next time you’re out at a restaurant and see something on the menu with that ingredient. Eating the rainbow while abroad also helps open traveler’s minds to new cuisines. New vegetables and fruits can mean new options to fill each color of the rainbow with, and allow people to swap out that squash for passionfruit. With enough practice rainbow eating, the effects and discoveries found will in time add enough new options to any diet that you’ll leave the Skittles behind and each for that new exciting ingredient every time.

Photos courtesy of @gfreefoodie, @cynthia_emiko_green, @clemfoodie

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