National Nutrition Month :: Make a Rainbow on Your Plate

8 Mar

March is National Nutrition Month, a campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association to promote nutrition education; this year’s theme is Eat Right with Color.



As a dietitian, I am often asked about multivitamins. My personal recommendation, however, is to obtain nutrients from eating a variety of whole foods as research is yet to conclude if supplementation has the same benefits as obtaining these nutrients through the diet. Each day and week, think about including fruits and vegetables from all color families to provide your body with a rainbow of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, substances that protect the cells in your body. Aim for at least three different colors at each meal to obtain maximal health benefits.

Blue/purple: Anthocyanins, found in blueberries, black rice, red cabbage and cherries, are antioxidants which are touted to decrease inflammation associated with arthritis and heart disease. These foods also contain resveratrol, an antioxidant specifically linked to protecting against heart disease and maintaining eye health. Anthocyanins also contain anti-aging properties, may help with memory and promote urinary tract health. Blueberries, likely because of the anthocyanins, have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure.

Red: Red foods such as tomatoes, beets, watermelon and pomegranates contain lycopene, an antioxidant that in men with high intakes was linked with decreased risk of prostate cancer. These antioxidants also protect us from heart disease and may benefit those with exercise-induced asthma.

Green: Kale, spinach, broccoli, avocados and asparagus are nutritional powerhouses that are rich in lutein for eye health and vitamin K for bone health. Green fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin C, folate, and magnesium.

Orange/Yellow: Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and apricots contain a variety of carotenoids, which enhance immune function. Carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables (not supplements) have been shown to possibly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Orange and yellow foods are also high in vitamin A to help protect the eyes and are thought to fend off colds by boosting immunity.

White: The lack of color in these foods is not for lack of nutrition! Potatoes are high in potassium, an electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure, and vitamin C for immunity. Cauliflower, potatoes and mushrooms contain allicin and quercetin, substances that may defend against cancer and inflammation leading to heart disease. Red onions contain several types of antioxidants including quercetin. Onions and garlic are beneficial to the cardiovascular and immune systems and may also have anti-cancer effects as well.  

Brown: The brown group not only contain produce such as dates, but also whole grains including wheat, brown rice and wild rice are good sources of fiber to aid with weight management, maintain gut integrity and control blood sugars. They are also packed with B vitamins and iron to keep you energized. Almonds contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, an antioxidant.

A few ideas to add color to your diet:

  • Add spinach to your fruit smoothies – you won’t even be able to taste it!
  • Add a spring mix salad topped with colorful bell peppers and red onion as an appetizer to any meal.
  • Mix fresh berries into your morning oatmeal.
  • Pack cut-up carrots to eat with lunch or a snack.
  • Make a homemade soup with pureed or chopped vegetables including celery, carrots, potatoes and peas. Or add extra vegetables to low-sodium, canned soups.
  • Each week or month, find a recipe for a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t tried before.

For more information about National Nutrition Month visit:

How do you add color to your diet?


10 Responses to “National Nutrition Month :: Make a Rainbow on Your Plate”

  1. Josh Dwyer August 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Good morning,
    I am a 3rd Year Secondary Teaching student at Australian Catholic University. I am currently developing a range of learning activities for the Food Technology HSC Syllabus that I hope to one day use in the class room. I have come across the image you have used on this blog, and I would like to include it in my learning activity.
    As per copyright licensing laws, I can only do so with your permission. If you are happy for me to use this image, I will provide a link on my learning resource that will direct the students to your blog.

  2. Gihan Obayah September 2, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    very nice rainbow


  1. Helping America Eat Right | Nutrition Unplugged - March 9, 2011

    […] Regan Jones,  The Professional Palate:  National Nutrition Month — Time for Show, Not Tell Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, Raise Healthy Eaters: The Wizard of Oz Guide to Making Healthy Habits Stick Julie Upton, Katherine Brooking, Appetite for Health: Color Your Diet Healthy Tracy Owens, Triangle Nutrition Therapy:  National Nutrition Month Karman Meyer, Nutrition Adventures:  Color Your Plate Rebecca Subbiah, Chow & Chatter:  Add Color to Your Plate! Sarah-Jane Bedwell, Nashville’s Nutrition Expert: Color Yourself Healthier Lyn Turton, Caledonia Nutrition: National Nutrition Month – Eat With Color Janet Helm, Nutrition Unplugged:  It’s National Nutrition Month – Eat Right With Color Emma Stirling, The Scoop on Nutrition:  Hop on the Hemp Wagon for National Nutrition Month Chere Bork, Taste Life:  Five Ways to Eat the New USDA Science Guidelines Bonnie Tandy LeBlang, Bite of the Best: National Nutrition Month – Registered Dietitian Day Janel Ovrut, Eat Well With Janel:  National Nutrition Month – Top Foods You’re Not Eating  Jessie Claire, Good and Good For You:  Nutrition is all About Food  Rima Kleiner: Celebrating Food  Rachel Begun, The Gluten Free RD:  National Nutrition Month – Eat Right With Color!  Liz Weiss, Janice Bissex, Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen: Celebrate National Nutrition Month by Eating a Rainbow  Victoria Shanta Retelny, Living Well Communications:  Celebrate March by Eating Right  Elana Natker, A Sprinkle of Sage: What’s Your Nutrition Resolution?  Carolyn O’Neil, Dish on Dieting: Baby You Can Drive My Car…To the Healthiest Menus  Elizabeth Rahavi, IFIC’s Food Insight:  Eat Right With a Colorful Plate  Jill Castle, Just the Right Byte: What Will It Take to Get America’s Kids to Eat Right?  Sheila Viswanathan, The Lazy Dietitian: Happy Registered Dietitian Day  Brittany Glasset, Nutrition in a Nutshell: National Nutrition Month – Make a Rainbow on Your Plate […]

  2. The Wizard of Oz Guide to Making Healthy Habits Stick - March 9, 2011

    […] The Lazy Dietitian: Happy Registered Dietitian Day  Brittany Glasset, Nutrition in a Nutshell: National Nutrition Month – Make a Rainbow on Your Plate […]

  3. Happy National RD Day! « A Sprinkle of Sage - March 9, 2011

    […] Brittany Glasset, Nutrition in a Nutshell: National Nutrition Month – Make a Rainbow on Your Plate […]

  4. National Nutrition Month « GIS Use in Public Health and Health Care - March 16, 2011

    […] Picture from: Nutrition in a Nutshell […]

  5. Chocolate Cinnamon Date Balls « Nutrition in a Nutshell - March 16, 2011

    […] bonus: Almonds contain heart healthy monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, an antioxidant (also look here for more information about how to get more antioxidants in your diet). Dates contain fiber, […]

  6. National Nutrition Month “Eat Right…With Color” | Enjoy Fun Family Food - March 29, 2011

    […] Nut Shell Nutrition: “Make a Rainbow on Your plate”, also be sure to peruse the site. Brittany has several informative posts on making health goals that might be of interest. […]

  7. Did you know about National Nutrition Month? | ECATTS - March 16, 2012

    […] tips from:… “National Nutrition Month :: Make a Rainbow on Your […]

  8. Hartley Chiropractic Center | Make a Rainbow on Your Plate - March 25, 2012

    […] National Nutrition Month :: Make a Rainbow on Your Plate « Nutrition in a Nutshell. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: