This is the THIRD installment of our guest blogs from Julie Lincoln, co-founder of VegyVida! Hope you enjoyed the last two days–if you missed, make sure you check them out (tips on how to get kids to eat veggies and sugars and sweeteners in foods). I especially love this one because teaching kids to eat the colors of the RAINBOW is a fun way to engage them in healthy eating–especially when done early!
Contributed by Julie Lincoln, Co-Founder of VegyVida (https://www.vegyvida.com)
Red speaks to our hearts, while green speaks to our brains, but what of yellow, and even white? The colorful compounds of veggies deliver important health and nutritional benefits to different parts to growing bodies. A look into what veggie brilliance means to kids.
Here’s a fun after-school activity: Give your kids six crayons and ask them to draw the picture of health. How many veggies do you think will be are there?
Chances are, more than six. From eggplants to tomatoes, veggies wear their nutritional value in their skins. Each naturally occurring hue – the bright reds, vibrant greens, deep purples and even creamy whites – represents specific nutrients that benefit different parts of growing bodies.
This is why pediatricians recommend we feed our kids a rainbow of foods – because these colors work best when combined. This kaleidoscope of benefits ranges from improved memory to strong bones, and even mood control.
Color curious? Let’s see what’s on the other side of the veggie rainbow.
Red: Winning Hearts
There is a reason red bell peppers are heart-shaped. These sweet veggies, as well as tomatoes and red cabbage, are chockablock with vitamins A and C, manganese and fiber, making them great for healthy hearts and bodies. Bonus nutrient: Tomatoes offer lycopene, a compound shown to fight cancer.
Orange: Scoring A+
Next time you serve your kid sweet potatoes, tell her it’s all the better to see you with. Orange veggies, including carrots, butternut squash and pumpkin, carry more than their weight’s worth of vitamin A, which is essential for good vision. Some of these veggies also pack potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.
Yellow: Sunny Smiles
While yellow food dyes are linked to hyperactivity, natural yellow foods produce a warm glow. Healthy skin and stronger bones and teeth are among the rewards of eating yellow squash, bell peppers and corn. These cheerful veggies also are rich in antioxidants, including magnesium, to strengthen young hearts, vision, digestion and immune systems.
Green: Total Recall
When your kid sits down to homework, offer up some broccoli and peas. These and other green veggies, including spinach, Brussels sprouts and asparagus, are teeming with folic acid, which research shows improves memory. Some, including collard greens and lima beans, deliver iron, while leafy greens additionally bring vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.
Purple: Dark Matters
The darker the veggie, the more antioxidants it contains. Purple eggplants, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, which are rich in vitamin A, anthocyanin and flavonoids, help boost immunity, manage blood pressure, enhance brain power and strengthen little hearts. Look for new varieties of veggies in purple, including asparagus and corn.
White: Fairing Well
Bright colors are eye-catching, but we should not be blind to white. The humble cauliflower is an excellent source of protein, magnesium and vitamins C, K and B6. White cabbage, meanwhile, brings us vitamins A, B, C and K along with calcium, iron and fiber. Parsnips also contain vitamins C and K, folic acid and fiber, while onions and garlic improve immunity.
Vegetables create a nutritional rainbow that leads to wellness, which beats a pot of gold any day. The trick is keeping the colors natural – why mess with the picture of health?
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