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Happy New Year, Friends!
Did you make any resolutions or set any goals? How about for your health?
I would like you all to take a few minutes to think about your health in a new way. No diets. Dieting mentality is drudgery, sulking about how you can’t eat this or that. It’s rubbish! Throw that out the window!
However, if you have goals and aspirations for improving your health, that’s great! If those goals include eating better and making better choices, that’s wonderful! I want you to think about taking a challenge where you actually eat more!
What am I talking about? It’s the color and cups challenge! I’m talking about upping your intake of fruits and vegetables!
Let’s take control of our health and do it without the baggage of dieting or starving. You’ll be wondering how to manage eating all the goodness your body needs! Quite frankly, many people are deficient in essential nutrients because they don’t get enough fruits & veggies. Let’s do it in a fun way, like a game. It’s a challenge! I dare you!!! For the sake of your health, I triple-dog-dare you!!!
Here’s the deal: Aim to eat three to five cups of fruits and veggies a day! At the same time, aim to eat as colorful as you can! Do you remember the acronym “Roy G. Biv” for the rainbow of colors from grade school? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Here are two tips: 1) Plan your meals and eating strategies. 2) When you’re in the produce department, get as many different colored fruits & veggies as you can.
For planning meals, keep in mind that half of your meal should consist of fruits & veggies! Most people have dinner plates that look like about 3/4’s filled with carbs (pasta, rice, bread) and about 1/4 with meat or protein and if we’re lucky, we squeeze in a sliver (1/8th) of veggies. For dessert comes a pile of carbs with a mountain of sugar. Not good.
Instead, our plates need to look like 1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbs. For dessert, let’s have a piece of fruit. (I have another fun challenge for dessert I’ll share later in the month!)
Here are examples of the way I eat:
- Breakfast I do either a hot or cold cereal (carb), an egg (protein), and either a sweet potato with maple syrup, hash browns, or a piece of fruit.
- Lunch is a salad with red wine vinegar as dressing, a sandwich or rice cake with tuna, cheese, & tomato, and a piece of fruit.
- Supper is a gluten-free meal that I cook, which includes all the food groups. I oftentimes even microwave or steam some frozen or fresh veggies to fill half the plate – even when we have things like lasagna or pizza! And a piece of fruit for dessert.
That’s approximately 4 cups of fruits & veggies a day!
Veggies are filling (with low calories) so they can help with portion control. If you want seconds, go back for more veggies!
The goodness inside the fruits & veggies will boost your health via the antioxidents & phytonutrients found in plants. They boost our immune systems and help protect us against cancers, diseases, and obesity.
Here’s a quick reference list to the colors and fruits & veggies in each color group:
- Red = strawberries, peppers, beets, pomegranate, cranberries, raspberries, tomatoes
- Orange = oranges, clementines, mangos, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, peaches, necterines, carrots
- Yellow = corn, summer squash, spaghetti squash, yellow bell peppers, pineapple, star fruit
- Green = spinach, kale, lettuce, (all the green leafy’s), broccoli, avocado, pears, green grapes, green peppers, beans, brussels sprouts, peas, celery
- Blue = blueberries
- Purple = egg plant, plums, raisins, red grapes
- White = leeks, onions, garlic, potatoes, apples, bananas
Each color has it’s own unique blend of protection for our bodies.
Be creative! Try things like eggplant lasagna and spaghetti squash instead of noodles.
The CDC has a couple of great visual aides: What Counts As A Cup? shows you visual examples so you can determine how much to eat. (1 cup is approximately what used to be counted as 2 servings.) How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need? will calculate, based on your age, gender, and activity level. The USDA, CDC, and everyone has gone from counting servings to counting cups.
So instead of a recipe today, resolve to take the challenge and change your health! Who’s with me for the challenge?
© 2013 – 2019, Kristen Hamilton. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.