Brighten Up Your Meal Ideas…

Bored with your diet? Are you in need of little ‘dietary’ excitement?

By adding a splash of brilliant colours to your plate; Yes, red, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples.  Aim to get as many of these into YOU as possible…and don’t forget wonderful greens which we spoke about last week.  When you have an array of colours on the plate your meal is instantly look much more appetising. This means your digestive juices will be stimulated easily and as a result you will be better able to digest your food. You will feel good after eating them.

The different coloured fruit and vegetables are high in different unique pigments or components (very scientific names) which we will not go into here, but are basically enriched with different nutrients. Flavonoids, hesperidins, quercitin, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, fibre, minerals, vitamins and much more. These carry out a multitude of functions in the body; I have outlined just a few below.  By opting for all of these or as many as possible on a regular basis you are providing your body with many of the essential tools it needs to firstly reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body causes pain. They also stabilize and balance the body’s immune system by supporting white blood cells. This is crucial in defending your body against sickness and disease. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that is good for your whole body and a healthy heart. It is converted in the body to Vitamin A which is essential for healthy vision.

Increase more ‘REDS’ into your daily routine, these include, beets, cherries, blood oranges, cranberries, pomegranates, peppers, chillies, strawberries, tomatoes, red onions, red potatoes, radishes, red apples….

YELLOW/ORANGE: Apricots (fresh rather than dried is best), butternut squash, mangoes, papaya, carrots, peaches, pineapples, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, pumpkin, oranges.

GREEN fruit, vegetables and salads are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, fibre and calcium. These keep the body strong and healthy. Leafy green vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein, high in dietary fibre, high in iron and calcium. They are also very high in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in plant foods, which works with nutrients and dietary fibre to protect you against disease. The calcium found in green vegetables is very easily absorbed and utilised by the body. If you cannot tolerate dairy produce or choose not to eat it, increase your daily intake of greens to ensure you get sufficient calcium into the system.

Add some of these to your daily diet. Broccoli is really excellent, kale, lettuce, bok choy, courgette, Brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, artichoke (also great for boosting and reducing burden on your liver), okra, kiwi, honeydew melon, lime, and green bell  pepper…What others can you think of?

Aim to eat some of these raw at least a couple of times a week. They can make a really fresh tasting, crunchy snack.

BLUE/PURPLE…blackcurrants, grapes, prunes, plums, blueberries, purple cabbage, and many more.

Don’t forget frozen fruit and vegetables…they retain the majority of their nutritional value; you can juice them or make a smoothie out of them. The use of fruits and vegetables are really so versatile you can have them in an abundance of ways…have them in salads, juicy side dishes, soups, omelettes, rice dishes, platters and so on… Go on use your imagination and make your plate much more colourful…

Eat your fruit and vegetables and keep yourself healthy!