WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO EAT A VAREITY OF FRUITS & VEGGIES ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AND BEYOND!

RAINBOW BANNER OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO EAT A VAREITY OF FRUITS & VEGGIES ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AND BEYOND!

For a moment think about your food choices, recently & in the past.  If you have just started the IHC Weight Loss program or you, “did it” years ago.  What has your food choices LOOKED like.  Were they the same 4-5 things?  Chicken, broccoli & apples 3-4 times a week?  Did you know that you had over 40 vegetable & fruit options on the program?

Mother Nature provides us with so much nutritious and beautiful produce, and “eating the rainbow” is a simple visual cue that allows you to be grateful for all of these powerfully nutritious foods that are available for you to enjoy.

By visualizing the rainbow as you eat throughout the week, it will help you to incorporate a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet.

Discover a few of the biggest benefits of each of the colors to keep top of mind along with tips for how you can begin integrating an eat the rainbow mentality into your weekly meals.

Our motto at IHC is “The more color the better!”, but what’s the reason for this?

The colors we see in our vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds, and other whole foods, represent really important nutrients called phytonutrients!

Phytonutrients basically help us to prevent and heal from disease. The best way to determine which phytonutrients we’re getting is to use the color of the fruit or vegetable we’re eating. Meaning, if we’re always just eating red fruits or vegetables, we’re only getting the phytonutrients that are associated with the red color.  AND if you are only getting limited nutrients guess what?  Your weight loss will slow down as you body searches for these missing nutrients.

Therefore, the more your plate, or overall diet resembles the rainbow, the more nutrients you will be getting overall!  It’s a simple way to look at your shopping list, grocery cart, and weekly meals to gauge what am I missing?

 

THE BENEFITS OF EACH COLOR OF FOOD

Red Food Benefits: anti-aging properties and improved heart health

The red foods in your diet are great sources of antioxidants. The phytonutrients present are flavonoids or carotenoids.  Flavonoids & carotenoids have been shown to help prevent sun damage when consumed consistently.   Additionally, their antioxidant status means they’re very anti-inflammatory, which can help to prevent chronic diseases and improve heart health as well and increases fat loss.

Examples of Red foods on IHCs plan: Red peppers, tomatoes, radishes, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon pomegranate

Orange Food Benefits: Improved eyesight

Orange fruits and vegetables are packed with carotenoids, which are associated with promoting healthy vision.  Because of their antioxidant content as well, they too are known to help prevent certain cancers and eye diseases & are anti-inflammatory too.

Examples of Orange foods on IHCs plan: Orange peppers, butternut squash, pumpkin, oranges, nectarines, peaches, & cantaloupe

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Yellow Food Benefits: cancer prevention, anti-microbial, and high anti-inflammatory properties

Turmeric has had its time in the light for quite a few years now, ever wonder why? Curcuminoids are to thank for this. They’re the phytonutrients responsible for that potent bright yellow color found in turmeric as well as all the other yellow fruits and vegetables.  Because of their anti-cancer, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties, these yellow food items have been shown to help to heal those with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and even diabetes.  Imagine how eating these will help you lose weight!

Examples of Yellow foods on IHCs Plan: yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes, banana peppers, summer squash, delicata squash, lemon.

Green Food Benefits: digestion support and disease prevention

Eating plenty of greens increases your fiber intake, which supports your digestion on a daily basis. Additionally, they can also help decrease your chances of developing many disease states.  Once again, antioxidants are abundant here, which help to ward off disease or prevent disease in the first place.  Keep up your intake of greens to help keep both your cholesterol levels and chances of developing disease low!

Examples of Green foods on IHCs plan: Leafy greens, green peppers, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, asparagus, green apples, cucumbers, spinach, celery, olives, okra & leeks

Blue and Purple Food Benefits: Improved heart health and cancer prevention

The blue and purple colors you see in an abundance of plant-foods are likely due to the flavonoids present.  These have been studied over the years in association with coronary heart disease prevention as well as anticancer activity.  By adding more blue and purple food items to your diet you can help to improve your heart health and reduce your chances of developing certain types of cancer.

Examples of Blue and Purple foods on IHCs plan: blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, purple peppers, red kale, black olives & ‘red’ onions

White and Brown Food Benefits: strengthen bones and reduce menopausal symptoms

The phytonutrients lignan is present in many brown/white food items. Lignans have been shown to help reduce the chances of osteoporosis development over time.  Not only that, but their antioxidant properties have shown that they may help to reduce menopausal symptoms as well!

Brown and white foods: cauliflower, Ground flax, jicama, ginger, garlic, onions, mushrooms nuts, seeds

5 TIPS TO EAT THE RAINBOW THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

Most of us have common foods and meals we rotate throughout our weeks and months so adding variety can seem like a daunting task. However, it is really a lot simpler than you might think.  And more importantly it will provide your body with a variety of nutrients helping you reach your weigh loss goals while expanding your palette and enjoying more flavors.  Here are some simple strategies for incorporating more variety without getting overwhelmed.

  1. Keep Your Favorites on Hand

As you look through the list of foods for each color, you’ll likely be able to pick out a few favorites from each category. Maybe you already have those on hand each week, or maybe you realize you don’t typically purchase your favorite blue and purple foods regularly.

Identify a few favorites of each color that you can have on hand in the freezer, pantry, and fridge so it’s easy to think “what color am I missing today, and what do I have that I can add to my plate?”

  1. Add Variety to Your Weekly Shopping List

Once you have a few of your favorites stocked, you can then layer on some variety week to week when you grocery shop. When you eat the rainbow, you want to think about both having variety among the different colors and also variety among the ingredients in each color too!

For example, if you normally grab spinach as your salad base, you can choose a different green than the week before, such as arugula, kale, or watercress (or a mix of multiple!).

Or if you normally add frozen broccoli or string beans to your dinner, maybe you pick up some artichokes or green peppers to change it up.

Now, if those are completely unenjoyable for you, don’t force it. But if you’re simply in the habit of buying the same staples and you also enjoy other options, give this tip a try!

  1. Take Advantage of Produce That Comes in More Than One Color

Many fruits and veggies come in a variety of colors — think red, green, and yellow peppers, or yellow squash versus green.  One easy switch up with some of your favorites is simply to buy the other color option (or even better, buy a mix of the options)!

What’s great about this tip is that in many cases, it doesn’t drastically alter the flavor profile of whatever your eating. There might be a subtle difference, but overall, your favorite recipes or snacks will taste similar while bringing the needed variety of nutrients.

***This may seem subtle but it can make a difference in your weight loss.

  1. Utilize the Frozen Food Section When Necessary

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great, but don’t let their short shelf life prevent you from reaping the benefits of their consumption!

If you find that you’re unable to buy certain fruits or vegetables fresh, head to the frozen food section. The nutrition composition is just as good and they last twice as long.  Just be sure to check out that ingredient list in the back — you just want to see the food item you’re purchasing, nothing else.

  1. Make Eating the Rainbow Fun for Your Children Too!

Colors are a great way to engage young children and make eating well a little more fun. Encourage picky toddlers and young children to eat more fruits and veggies by making eating the rainbow fun and simple for both the parents and the children!

This doesn’t have to be ‘another thing I have to do” to lose weight. Think of this as a lifetime choice.  Always consider what you are purchasing for food.  Consider your plate & meal choices prior to doing the IHC weight loss program.  It was the same 3-4 meals then, but it was probably like mine: hamburgers loaded with bacon, cheese, pizzas & processed foods with little to no nutritional value.  Now, think about ALL the food choices you have now and all the incredible new tastes you’re learning to love and how healthy you are now (or will be soon) because of the choices.

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Charlottesville, VA 22901
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