|Variety is the spice of life! |
When I was little, my mom swears I would only consume things that were orange. Being a child of the 80s, “foods” like Doritos, Tang, and Cheez-Its were all the rage, so I’m pretty sure my monochromatic diet left a lot to be desired.
To this day, I’m still partial to several orange foods. But as I began to expand my taste buds and think about ways to make healthier meals for myself and my family, Mother Nature’s colorful bounty—a.k.a. fresh vegetables and fruits—were an obvious starting point.
We all know that we’re supposed to eat 5-9 servings each day. However, knowing and doing aren’t the same thing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying the same items in the produce department each week then wondering why you’re bored eating them when you get home.
So what’s the easy fix? Change it up a little. Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables broken down by color. On your next shopping trip, why not grab one new thing from each of the groups? It’ll help you add some color variation to your weekly menu and hopefully stave off produce monotony.
Apples, tomatoes, radishes, red bell peppers, strawberries, red potatoes, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, papaya, pomegranates, raspberries, watermelon, red chili peppers, guava, rhubarb
Oranges, peaches, nectarines, orange bell peppers, carrots, grapefruit, mangoes, persimmons, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tangerines, mandarins, cantaloupe
Squash, lemons, yellow tomatoes, sweet corn, yellow beets, yellow potatoes, pears
Spinach, kale, green grapes, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, snap peas, okra, leafy greens, limes, leeks, kiwi fruit, honeydew melon, green bell peppers, green onions, cabbage, green apples, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, avocado, asparagus
Blueberries, eggplant, purple cauliflower, red/black grapes, beets, plums, red onions, purple carrots, purple cabbage, raisins, purple asparagus, prunes, blackberries, black currants, elderberries
These days, I buy most of my produce organic. Yes, it’s a little more expensive but can you really put a price on food that’s not laden with chemicals and pesticides? If you have to pick and choose, here’s a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.” (Source: Environmental Working Group.) But at the end of the day, the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh the negative effects of NOT eating them so don’t beat yourself up if everything you buy isn’t organic.
The Dirty Dozen:
The following 12 items are notorious for containing the highest levels of pesticide residue. Several of them also have thin skins that allow the icky stuff to leach into the “flesh” of the fruit/veggie.
Sweet bell peppers
The Clean Fifteen:
The fruits and veggies listed below typically have the lowest levels of pesticides and most have non-edible thicker skins that help keep the bad stuff out. You can probably skip the organic versions of the following 15 items.
I hope this post inspires you to put a few new, colorful items in your basket during your next trip down the produce aisle.
Until next time,