Someweek over the rainbow: National Nutrition Month

We’re already one week into National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme – Eat Right with Color – is a simple way to boost the nutritional value of every meal. A press release from the American Dietetic Association explains: “A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients, each with a different bundle of potential benefits for a healthful eating plan….To maximize the nutritional value of your meal, include healthful choices in a variety of colors.”

I get giddy about anything involving color-coding and spreadsheets, so I tracked how much of the spectrum I scarfed down during this past week:

But let’s be honest: a nutrition-minded grown-up with a predilection for plant-based foods is a proverbial fish in the barrel for Eating Right with Color. A much bigger challenge? Getting a kid to eat that way.

Miles eating his favorite food

This week, I’ve had some success hyping the “Eat Your Rainbow” idea with my son. He’ll always eat fruit – in fact, our fruit bowl has a hard time keeping up with his appetite – but vegetables are not an easy sell. So I gave him that simple mantra, and I managed to get carrot sticks and edamame into him without complaint. Well, without much complaint.

Ready to be the Picasso of Produce? Here are a few guides to help:

  • A great list of foods in each color group from InspiredRD (here)
  • PBS Kitchen Explorers’ tips for helping kids Eat Right with Color, including a rainbow vegetable stew recipe (here)
  • Squidoo guide for kids to Eat A Rainbow (here)

9 comments

  1. Nice post. I am a self-confessed Excel geek and love anything involving spreadsheets :p I’m going to make a conscious effort to eat the rainbow this week too!

  2. Thanks, Bianca! Enjoy eating and spreadsheeting. Later this month I will also do a quick post with links to colorful, plant-strong recipes to help folks trying to eat their colors.

  3. Thanks for the reminder of what this month is as I totally spaced it. The spreadsheet is a great (and fun) idea for both adults and kids. This would be a fun activity for the classroom!

  4. Love the spreadsheet… although I somewhat debate putting kettle corn on list! ;-) I fear that I am definitely failing on blues and purples most weeks. This is a very interesting challenge – great post!

  5. @RecipEngineer, ha! Agreed, I took liberties with that one.

  6. Thank you for posting my link! I love your spreadsheet–Very organized of you :)

  7. ug, I dont have kids but I work with parents with kids who dont eat their fruits and veggies. Such a struggle but finding creative ways to make it fun and offering variety from the get go is key! :)

  8. @thehealthyapron Agreed! I’ve also found autonomy is a great aid. Dishes/meals where he has control over the choices and assembly – like a taco bar for last night’s dinner (http://www.flickr.com/photos/katn77/5513594862) or make-your-own fruit salad – are more likely to meet with success than if I present him with the same meal, pre-determined & pre-made.

    And peer pressure can be leveraged for good! In a Little Chefs cooking class with his friends, my son gobbled down celery, raisins, hummus, and strawberries because the other kids were doing so. He often refuses those at home.

  9. Catherine says:

    This is great! Is your spreadsheet template available to share?

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