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Eat A RainbowVegetables and fruits contain special disease-fighting compounds called phytochemicals and antioxidants that help fight cell damage in the body which can lead to diseases like cancer and heart disease.  They also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals which are important to keep our bodies functioning properly.  For the biggest protective punch, serve yourself and your kids a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits every day, because each color has its own unique phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals! 

 

Red – Tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, grapes, cherries, red onions, apples, radishes, cranberries, red potatoes.

These fruits and vegetables are good sources of the antioxidants vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and the phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene is thought to lower the risk of developing some cancers, including stomach and prostate, and protect against heart disease.

 

Orange – Bell peppers, carrots, pumpkin, rutabaga, oranges, clementines, tangerines, mandarins, melon, nectarines, peaches, squash, mango, papaya, apricots, guava.

Providing the orange pigment in citrus fruit are flavanoids. These are antioxidants that help your body use vitamin C.  Beta-carotene is a phytochemical found in orange food. Beta-carotene may boost your immune system and protect against breast cancer. 

 

Yellow – Bananas, bell peppers, yellow zucchini, pineapple, melon, yellow squash, corn, grapefruit, yellow tomatoes.

The phytochemical carotenoid is the one found in yellow fruits and vegetables. The carotenoids found in yellow food works with the carotenoids found in red and orange foods to help protect against cancer and heart disease.

 

Green – Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, peas, zucchini, apples, pears, kiwi, avocado, spinach, green leafy lettuce, grapes, asparagus, green beans, celery, cucumbers.

The phytochemical lutein is present in dark green vegetables. Lutein works to maintain the health of skin and eyes; the only organs exposed to the outside environment. Lutein may help fight cancers and also helps to prevent age-related blindness. 

 

Purple/Blue – Blueberries, blackberries, currants, eggplant, figs, beets, red cabbage, plums, grapes, purple peppers.

The phytochemical anthocyanin is believed to fight off certain cancers and diseases like coronary heart disease and strokes. Anthocyanins can also be found in red foods. Purple grapes contain antiviral and antibacterial qualities that protect your immune system.

 

A good way of getting a child interested in what they eat is to make mealtimes fun.  A great way to do this is by charting the colors they eat! Simply create a chart with the following five colors from the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, purple/blue across the top of the chart and each day of the week down the left side of the chart. Then place a check mark in the correct color box for every fruit and vegetable that your child eats each day.  Count up the check marks at the end of the day to see if your child achieved the goal of eating 5-a-day!  It is okay if your child eats more than one fruit or vegetable from the same color group – the goal is 5-a-day.

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