We’ve often talked about the health benefits of eating a colourful diet inspired by the rainbow. A low fat, low carb or Mediterranean diet is just that. The Mediterranean diet is a wonderfully balanced diet with a bit of everything – a rainbow of plant foods, olive oil, and a moderate amount of fish and poultry.
WHAT IS A RAINBOW DIET?
The idea behind eating a “rainbow diet” is to achieve ideal nutritional intake from a variety of fresh, whole food sources. By consuming foods with deep or vibrant colors at every meal, you’re increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. These are bursting with phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
What are phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds produced by plants that help give plants their distinctive colors, smells, and tastes. For us, they act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, and work to deactivate cancer-causing substances. Basically, they help prevent disease and keep your body working properly.
Each colour provides various and different health benefits and no one colour is superior to another. Including a rainbow of different coloured foods in your diet ensures that you consume a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients with a range of health benefits.
What does the food rainbow look like?
The food rainbow is broken down into 6 colours, each with their own benefits. The infographic below shows the rainbow wheel, the benefits of each of the colours and some examples of the foods in each colour.
TIPS TO HELP YOU EAT THE RAINBOW EVERY DAY
Initially, it’s quite a task to make sure you cover the entire rainbow in your daily meal plan. It does take a little planning. Here are some tips.
Have a colourful breakfast. Start your day with a bright smoothie, oatmeal topped with an assortment of red and purple berries, or scramble eggs loaded with onion, green peppers, and tomatoes.
Make vibrant salads. Large, colourful salads are the perfect way to try and incorporate lots of colourful veggies, and even fruits, into your diet. Try to have at least 1 a day for either lunch or dinner.
Liven up your lunch sandwich or wraps by adding colourful crunchy vegetables and raw slaw using peppers, red, green and purple slaw, raw julienne carrot and beetroot.
Snack in colour. Have at least 1 colourful, whole food snack a day.
Plan the colour of your meals. Decide on a “focus colour” for each meal for the day ahead.
SAMPLE RAINBOW DIET MEAL PLAN
Here’s a sample meal plan with some recipes for inspiration.
Breakfast – Blue/Purple/Red Smoothie
I like to start the day with a purple smoothie with loads of antioxidant powerhouse blueberries!
Try this amazing Ultimate Blueberry Power Smoothie recipe from Heavenlynn Healthy. It has the most unbelievable combo of healthy, phytonutrient dense ingredients. I leave out the zucchini. Instead, I add about ½ a cup of frozen raspberries. I also like to add a scoop of whey protein powder to my smoothie to increase the protein content.
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Lunch – Green Crunchy Salad
Go crazy with the greens and load your plate with a salad of baby spinach, crunchy romaine lettuce, and rocket. Top it with avocado, chopped cucumber, asparagus and some chickpeas or lentils. Finish with an easy creamy lemon tahini dressing by combining:
4 tablespoons tahini
juice of one large lemon
pinch of sea salt
pinch of garlic salt
shake of cayenne pepper
Finally, slowly add 2-3 tablespoons water or lemon juice, as needed to thin the dressing to your desired consistency. This dressing is for 2 servings.
Snack – Orange/Yellow
Enjoy a cup of fresh fruit salad made of slices of banana, papaya and mango.
Dinner – White/Tan
Try our salmon with summer salsa served on a bed of organic brown rice that has been cooked then stir-fried with some mushrooms, onion and garlic. I also like to add a bit of fresh chilli to my rice for some bite.
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