7 Colors for an Enriched Diet

Want a vibrant life? Nature offers us a rainbow platter of multi-hued fruits and vegetables. These colors, apart from catching your eye, also indicate presence of vital substances which work in synergy with nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to promote good health and reduce the risk of diseases. Let’s face it- our life in these times is stressful and we need to graduate from a balanced diet to an enriched one. But how do we enrich our diet? People usually buy food items based on their cost, seasonality, taste, ease of cooking and shelf life. Add another important parameter to the list- color, and lo! you have an enriched diet.

Cracking the Color Code

Nature imparts brilliant colors to fruits and vegetables through naturally occurring plant compounds called phytochemicals.

Color group:Blue, Purple, Deep Red

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  • Pigment: Anthocyanin
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Egg plant, black berries, blue berries, prunes, black olives, pomegranate, beetroot, purple cabbage, blue carrot.
  • Health benefits: Rich in antioxidants, good for heart and brain.

Color group: Greens

blackdoctorImage courtesy: blackdoctor

  • Pigment: Chlorophyll, Indoles, Isothiocyanates
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, wheatgrass, raddish leaves, mustard greens, bean sprouts, kiwi, grapes, capsicum, cucumber, avocado, beans, asparagus.
  • Health benefits: Reduces risk of cancers, body detoxification, boosts hemoglobin, good for skin.

Color group: Orange and yellows

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  • Pigment: Beta carotene, flavonoids
  • Fruits and Vegetables: carrots, papaya, mango, apricot, pumpkin, tangerines
  • Health benefits: Boosts immunity, rich in Vitamin A, anti ageing

Color Group:Red

Red Fruit And VegetablesImage courtesy: tistory

  • Pigment: Lycopene
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Tomatoes, red carrots,watermelon, red guavas, red bell peppers, pink grapefruit
  • Health benefits: rich in antioxidants, good for skin, helps cure constipation.

Color Group: White

  • Pigment: rutin, kaempferol, quercitin
  • Fruits and Vegetables: radish, potato, coconut,banana, mushrooms, garlic, onion
  • Health benefits: strengthens bones, keeps blood vessels healthy, good immunity

Including 5 colors in all meals: Tackling “how” is trickier than knowing “what.” And including seven colors in all the meals can be a good neural workout. Here are some combinations (not with exhaustive list) which will ensure that all your meals have maximum colors.

Here’s our recommendation to incorporate more color in your meal each day:

Set 1: Dinner/Lunch (International)

Starter: Carrot beetroot soup/roasted tomato soup, zucchini fries

Accompaniment: multigrain garlic spinach bread, bean sprout salad

Main course: eggplant, mushroom spinach lasagne; baked stuffed cottage cheese capsicum; cabbage, olive, jalapeno stuffed pita bread

Dessert: Pumpkin muffins/pumpkin pie, kiwi tart, pineapple souffle.

Set 2: Dinner/lunch (Indian)

Starter: Green peas oats potato tikki

Accompaniment:  Bathua/beetrrot raita, mint chutney, chickpea sprout salad, tomato sesame chutney, plum chutney

Main course: Lauki kofte; beans, carrot, cauliflower pulao; Kashmiri baingan;  vegetable stuffed paratha; methi malai matar;  missi roti;  tandoori mushroom curry;  sarso saag, makka roti.

Desserts: Mango shrikhand; banana, pomegranate rabdi, pineapple phirni, fruit kulfi, kaddu kheer, lauki halwa

Set 3: Breakfast (International)

Beverages: Banana -blue berry/black grapes smoothie; kiwi-apple juice, musk melon juice, watermelon slush

Main course: Soya nuggets in soya sauce with bellpeppers; grilled tofu with bell peppers; stir fried stuffed vegetables, spanish tomato omlette; spinach fritata; fruit salad;  carrot fritters; blueberry pan cakes;

Set4: Breakfast (Indian)

Beverages: Mango panna, mango/grapes lassi, coco-buttermilk.

Main course: Pesarettu; vegetable dosa; vegetable idli; beetroot tikki; beans, carrot, peas upma; methi besan cheela,

These are just some commonly known ideas which can help you get maximum colors on your plate. The idea is to have a healthy colorful plate

Bon Appetit!

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