When I started thinking of what to write in this post (believe it or not I do think about it instead of just typing whatever nonsense my brain thinks is appropriate at the time), I thought about the way different people view healthy eating. For a lot of people, mostly women in my experience, when talking about their typical diet “healthy” is synonymous with “low calorie”. If that was true, the millions living below the poverty line would be looking much more healthy, wouldn’t they? (See http://www.thehungerproject.co.uk for ideas on how to help.) I personally could have mushrooms with every meal and be perfectly happy, but it wouldn’t be that great for me. We all know that a balanced diet includes protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, dairy and a small amount of fat – I learnt it at school, and the NHS has been trying to raise awareness of the Eat Well plate over the last few years:
Less well known is the idea of also having a varied diet. In my Slimming World groups recently, we have been discussing the idea of having a rainbow of fruit and veg everyday, to ensure variety in our diets. Although we learn as children that fruit and vegetables are good for us, different ones have different benefits, and a few have drawbacks if eaten to excess (remember Piggy’s problem early on in Lord of the Flies?). Generally speaking, a range of colours means a range of nutrients, including vitamins, iron, calcium and other minerals, which are all essential to our well-being. As well as this, sitting down to a multi-coloured meal stimulates your brain, so that the enjoyment of your meal begins when you see it, long before you actually taste it.
If you’re wondering how to get different colours into your diet, here are a few of my rainbow favourites:
Red – tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries
Orange – carrots, butternut squash, satsumas and their family
Yellow – bananas, pineapple, baby and full size sweetcorn
Green – spinach, courgettes, broccoli
Blue – struggling here as the only one I can think of actually goes here:
Purple – blueberries, red cabbage or onion, aubergine
And my favourite reserve – peppers, which come in a variety of hues.
Try rainbowing your plate, and feel the benefits!