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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Eating Rainbows

Nutritionists tell us that a rainbow of colors offers balanced nutrition and it is fun to talk with kids about the food pyramid and how eating a variety of foods and different colors is healthy! To support that idea the new food pyramid has food groups represented by six different colors:
  • Orange - grains
  • Green - vegetables
  • Red - fruits
  • Yellow - oils
  • Blue - milk products
  • Purple - meats and beans

Foods from each group should be eaten daily because different colored food has different nutrients. For example:

  • Red foods contain lycopene, which is known to reduce prostate cancer risk;
  • Green foods contain antioxidants;
  • Yellow and orange foods are rich in beta-carotene and strengthen our immune system;
  • Blue & purple foods contain anthocyanins that may prevent heart disease; and
  • White foods like garlic have anti-tumor properties.

What is cool about eating the rainbow is that you can try and find foods in different colors - orange tomatoes, yellow peppers, purple brocolli, which is usually easier at a farmer's market than your corner grocery store. Nine a day would be good, so get cooking!

Photo credit: sylvar

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.