Sometimes things are easier to understand when they’re color-coded. Despite the vast amount of nutritional information at our fingertips, it’s easy to get confused by all of beto-and phyto-terms being thrown around. Even after a long, hard lecture from a nutritionist about how to eat right on a daily basis, you may still not fully understand how, which is why nutritionists Micheline Vargas and Keith Randolph of the Nutrilite Health Institute developed a system of colors to help one understand how to get the right amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Simply put, the best way to think about eating right is by thinking about getting your daily dose of color. Vargas and Randolph categorize fruits and vegetables into five different colors: red, yellow/orange, green, blue/purple, and white, otherwise known as the "rainbow effect." For optimal health, they recommend striving for two servings of each color per day, with between 9 and 13 servings overall. By color-coordinating your servings of fruits and vegetables, you’ll not only be sure you’re getting your daily serving of fruits and vegetables, but you’ll know that you’re getting the exact amount that will promote phytonutrient protection, energy, weight control, mental health, and variety, say Vargas and Randolph. While fruits are best enjoyed raw, they suggest steaming and sautéing chopped vegetables to get the most out of your servings, because it helps to retain nutrients, and improve the texture, flavor, and color of the vegetables.
At a recent event hosted in New York City, Nutrilite and its parent-company Amway promoted eating healthy with chef Rick Bayless through three recipes that were full of all five color categories. The Swiss chard tacos provided a vegetarian and healthy variety of the Latin specialty, filled with green, white, and red vegetables, while the omelettes were enhanced with the purple vegetable eggplant. To finish up the meal, there was strong representation from most of the color categories in the dessert, which was lime ice topped with fresh berries.
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Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce