Welcome back! If you are Hungry for a Fresh Start in the New Year you're in the right place.
This is the time for new beginnings! With the arrival of the New Year and spring feeling just around the corner, this is the perfect time to act on goals and intentions and to set a solid foundation for our health.
Yesterday we found all sorts of new and creative ways to include our family in our healthy food choices and preparation. I hope you stopped back by my blog to let me know how you chose to Get Inclusive.
Today is our day to Get Colorful!
I am going to share with you one of my favorite tools for incorporating more vegetables into our daily meals and snacks along with plenty of great tips to get started today! Are you ready to Get Colorful?
As we learned yesterday, the more we include others the more we take the food and my food and your food and turn it into OURfood. Involving our family in our food choices both in and out of the kitchen is a BIG stepping-stone to getting them to appreciate the value of great food.
Believe it or not, we can encourage even the pickiest eaters to try something adventurous by recruiting their help and giving them choices.
Let's Get Colorful!
Create a Vegetable Color Wheel - Activity
Take a plain piece of paper (81/2 x 11 or larger will do).
Draw a circle and divide it into slices.
Label each slice: Red, Orange/Yellow, Green, Blue/Purple and White.
If you have kids - have them color each slice in a light color to match their labels.
Together, brainstorm a list of vegetables – as many as possible for each color. Write your list on each slice of color.
Hang your very own Vegetable Color Wheel in your kitchen as a reminder that vegetables come in many colors. Now let's find creative ways to include at least 2 of these colorful vegetables into each of our meals!
Our vegetable dial lives on our fridge. Each week it helps remind me (yup! I need reminding too) and the whole family that we have plenty of choices when it comes to vegetables!
Here's how it works:
Allow everyone a turn at choosing a vegetable from the Vegetable Color Wheel.
Start out by choosing at least 1-2 vegetables for dinner. Off to a great start? Try including 1-2 vegetables for every meal!
Based on the selected vegetables chosen, select a recipe that includes those vegetables or offer choices on how to prepare and cook the vegetables.
Plan ahead - Decide on next week's meals as a family, around the dinner table, by making suggestions on a "wish list" or during your commute or car ride with the kids.
Once you've chosen vegetables and recipes, get the kids to help make the grocery list!
Get your vegetables! Explore your local markets or grow your own to find truly unique heirloom varieties such as purple cauliflower, white eggplant and purple bell peppers.
Did you know that each of these colors provides unique health benefits to our body?
According to the CDC, eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients to fight diseases and stay healthy. Each of these different colors have different benefits and by eating a variety of vegetables of different colors, we can guarantee that our body gets a diverse amount of essential vitamins and minerals and that we can get the best all-around health benefits.
Have you heard the phrase "eat the rainbow"? This simple phrase encourages us to eat a regular and diverse assortment of colored fruits and vegetables.
Each different color contains unique nutrients that are essential to our optimal health and each vegetable comes complete with it's own unique combination of fiber, vitamins, phyto-nutrients and enzymes.
The foods we eat can act as preventative medicine - When we eat plenty of vegetables we prevent health conditions such as heart disease and strokes, diverticulitis, control blood pressure, reduce some types of cancers, and guard against cataract, forms of macular degeneration and vision loss.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of these colorful vegetables (these hold true for fruits too!):
Contains nutrients such as lycopene (which causes the red color), quercetin, hesperidin and ellagic acid, which have been shown to support joint tissue, reduce symptoms associated with arthritis, reduce the risk of conditions such as prostate cancer and reduce the growth of tumors, offer powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage as well as lower cholesterol levels (LDL) and blood pressure.
Rich in carotenoids and other nutrients such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavanoids, lycopene, potassium as well as vitamin C which promote healthy eye sight, joints, collagen formation and bone development, reduce risk of prostate cancer and age-related macular degeneration as well as lower cholesterol (LDL) and blood pressure.
Contain nutrients such as chlorophyll, fiber, calcium, folate, lutein, vitamin C, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene which may reduce risk of certain forms of cancers, normalize digestion, support vision and retinal health, lower cholesterol levels (LDL) and offer immune system support.
Contain phytonutrients called anthocyanins that give these vegetables their color and act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage and may help reduce the risk of cancer as well as other nutrients such as resveratrol, quercetin, ellagic acid, vitamin C, zeaxanthin, lutein and fiber which support healthy digestion, vision health, calcium and mineral absorption, reduce inflammation and tumor growth, prevent risk of certain cancers, provide immune system support and lower cholesterol levels (LDL).
Contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG and lignans which offer powerful immune system support, reduce risk of certain cancers including breast, prostate and colon and help to normalize and balance hormone levels.
**As a general rule of thumb with all vegetables, the darker and deeper the color, the more nutrients they provide.
As a quick reminder, when selecting vegetables:
Choose those with crisp leaves and a vibrant color.
Younger, smaller vegetables generally are more tender and have a milder flavor. Many more mature or larger vegetables have a tougher texture and stronger flavors.
Fresh is best! But frozen vegetables are convenient to have on hand, offer a wider variety out of season and can be added in a pinch to soups, stews, smoothies or a stir fry.
No matter the season we can find a wide variety of vegetables at your local farmer's market, at the grocery store produce department or in the frozen foods section.
While you're shopping, here are a few quick tips to keep the family involved:
- Empower kids with plenty of choices in the produce area of the store. Give them a list of the vegetables to find. Make it a scavenger hunt. Allow kids to select the prettiest (organic if possible!) vegetables.
- Encourage older children to weigh and measure the vegetables and calculate total price from price per pound.
- Ask the kids to find vegetables from your local area and begin a conversation about where else in the world or food comes from.
- Share your family heritage or some of your favorites as a child. As a child my favorites were asparagus and artichokes! What were yours?
You've gathered your vegetables! Here are a few of my favorite quick and easy tips to get you started with your vegetables in the kitchen:
- Scrub, dip, tear, break, and snap! Here are a few examples: scrub yams or squash, dip broccoli into a bowl of water to wash, tear kale into bite-size pieces, break clementines into slices, snap the ends off green beans
- Shake, spread, and cut! Here are a few examples: shake spices or salt/pepper, spread slices of yams or butternut squash evenly onto a cookie sheet, cut melon with a cookie cutter, cut softer fruits and vegetables with a butter knife
- Peel, juice, and mash! Here are a few examples: Peel citrus or carrots or yams, juice citrus with a small hand juicer, mash yams or squash
- Roll or line! Here are a few examples: Roll dough or line a pan with parchment or aluminum foil
- Remove husks from cornEat the Rainbow!Soups, stews and stir fries are a few simple, quick ways to include many vegetables into a meal. Here are a few more of our family favorites that include vegetables of every color:
Remember to have fun while you Get Colorful! The more excitement we share over our healthy eating adventures, the more contagious our own positive energy becomes.
The goal is to include 3-5 vegetables into our day for a tasty way to boost our health and kick-start our New Year!
Each day this week we'll set daily nutrition habits that will reward us with renewed energy, radiance and optimal health. Whether we want to drop unwanted pounds, boost our energy, defy our age or simply eat healthier, each day this week we'll learn a new quick, simple tip for including vegetables into our daily routine. Making these healthy choices each day will move us toward our goal for the Year of the Dragon in 2012.
How did your Get Colorful! brainstorm go? Which new and colorful vegetables will your family include this week! I'm looking forward to reading your comments, recipes and tips below.
ENJOY your day and I'll see you back here tomorrow as we learn how to Get a Drink!
In Health & Friendship,
Want more?! Order your FREE Nutrition Book now.
We have partnered with, Dr. Joe and Stacey Merlo, D.C. who will be sharing these simple tips with their community at Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic all week-long. Stop in to their Kensington offices at Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic, voted Best San Diego Chiropractor.
Looking for more simple ways to incorporate vegetables into your day, including personalized recipes, meal plans and lists of seasonal vegetable choices for your local area? My 6 month program offers all of these delicious tips taylored-just for-you.
In-person, telephone and Skype consultations available. Contact Clea Shannon, certified holistic health coach and gluten-free guide.