A few days ago I used the term “Eat a Rainbow,” which I have seen in magazines that focus on healthy recipes. I like this idea because it reflects the much earlier suggestion in dietary guidelines from the USDA and American Cancer Society to eat a variety of foods. By focusing on a variety of colors, we tap into nutrients that are found in these foods. In “Color Me Healthy — Eating for a Rainbow of Benefits” by Juliann Schaeffer in Today’s Dietitian, (www.today’sdietitian.com), the author talks about phytochemicals, which I posted in my Glossary. Here is the excerpted definition below:
Phytochemicals are plant-derived essential nutrients scientifically confirmed as important to human health. There is evidence from laboratory studies that phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer (Source: www.wikipedia.com).
The colors are indicators of nutrients and the darker the color, the denser the nutrients. For example, blackberries and blueberries contain the phytochemical anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are considered to be heart healthy. Green foods from chlorophyll (a natural plant pigment) are high in another phytochemical called isothiocyanate, which helps the liver deal with carcinogens that can lead to cancer. A subset of this is yellowish–green foods that contain the phytochemical lutein, which is a nutrient for eye health. Reddish fruits & veggies contain lycopene, which is also associated with cancer reduction.
So, here is my rainbow fruit salad with several colors that could easily be a prime example of my motto, The Good Taste of Health. I used all organic fruits, but if you are unable to do so, check with the environmental group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen (ewg.org.) for their current list. I always buy organic when I cannot peel the fruit, even if it is not on the Dirty Dozen list.
Utensils: Cutting board & knife, strainer or colander, serving bowl
Prep. Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: None!
Categories: Vegan if using non-dairy topping, Gluten-Free
Ingredients [Total: 1/2 – 2 cups (organic) fruits]
strawberries or raspberries (RED)
grapes (red and/or green) or green kiwi (GREEN)
mango or papaya or pineapple (YELLOW, ORANGE)
blueberries and/or blackberries(BLUE)
avocado slices (optional)*(GREEN)
Coconut or almond sugar-free yogurt
Chopped walnuts or pecans or unsweetened dried coconut
2 t. Maple syrup (optional)
*Avocado is actually a fruit and its a smooth texture goes nicely with the other fruits.
- Wash all the fruits well and drain.
- Peel (if using) the mango, papaya, kiwi, and avocado and cut into small pieces or thin slices.
- Place the fruits in a serving bowl and right before serving, top with maple syrup (if using), yogurt, and/or nut or dried coconut.Serves two to four, depending on whether this is your whole breakfast or a snack or a side dish/appetizer. Also, feel free to use other ripe, organic fruits in season: peaches, plums, apricots, etc.
P.S. The rainbow in the title reminded me that this month is also Gay Pride Month and that we need all the colors to make a rainbow, just as we need all kinds of people to make the world a place in which everyone can participate without fear of prejudice or reprisals for their chosen lifestyles.
Note: I am posting this in 2 places: Home Page, and Kitchen Nutrition