Eat the rainbow!

rainbow-vegetables-and-fruitIt was one of our school directors who taught me this phrase, but I’ve used it ever since: With our healthy online school lunch service, we want children to eat foods from across the rainbow.

What do we mean by “rainbow food”? Not this, although I admit they’re all very pretty, and when my daughter was younger she’d have loved them all. We mean natural fresh foods of different colors. Red peppers! Orange wedges! Pineapple slices! Edamame! Broccoli! (All of which are available as your choice of the side included with any Smart Lunches meal.)

It’s a great short-hand rule for kids and adults both, because ensuring a diversity of colors in consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables does end up providing diversity in nutrients, too. Here’s what United Healthcare’s doctors have to say about the rainbow diet:

Eating the full rainbow of foods regularly helps give your body the nutrients it needs. In addition to fiber, vitamins and minerals, naturally colored foods contain what are known as phytochemicals. These powerful nutrients are the disease-fighting substances that also give fruits and vegetables their array of colors. Research has shown that eating a variety of these nutrients can work together to:

    • Strengthen your immune system
    • Lower your risk for certain cancers
    • Help ward off type 2 diabetes
    • Reduce high blood pressure
    • Prevent some eye diseases
    • Maintain urinary tract health
    • Maintain heart health
    • Improve memory
    • Help build strong bones and teeth

Here’s a great website about rainbow eating for kids, with lots of useful ideas. Meanwhile, it’s not just our sides of the day that bring your luncher the rainbow. Check out two upcoming yummy new menu items, Spinach and Tomato Mac and Cheese (three colors), and Chicken and Veggie Quesadilla (four!).

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