Many times it is difficult for the parents to encourage their children to eat food that is healthy and nutritious but still it is not always appealing to them. Adding a little colour to the plate and the food that you prepare for them will make lot of positive changes in your kids’ appetite and eating habits. The phrase “Eating the Rainbow” refers to adding most of the colours, found in the rainbow to your kid’s meals in such a way that it the meals become healthy and nutritious. While doing so, you are also taking care eliminating certain sins such as GLUTTONY and teaching them concepts like SATEITY, COMPASSION and PATIENCE.
You must be thinking I am exaggerating. But no, it’s true. Studies have even proved that even the colours of the plate, leave apart the food affect the levels of satiety that a child or adult can feel. So, the bottom line is colours do play an important role in determining the food habits and how children perceive their meals. This means, the modern lifestyle diseases such as Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension and Stress Anxieties can be controlled or limited to certain extent with the help of adding some colours to your plate. That is what I mean by “Eating the Rainbow”.
Advantages of “Eating the Rainbow”
There are lots of advantages of “Eating the Rainbow”, the first and most important being the nutrition that the colours add to your plate.
In addition to it, the most important thing when it comes to picky eaters or fussy kids is that the colours break the monotony and make even the boring sandwiches interesting if you make them to look like and call them the Tricolour Sandwiches. For instance if you layer your sandwich with something green such as the cucumber, something saffron/orange like the carrots and something white as the radish or may be the cheese, the sandwich becomes Tricolour!
So it doesn’t mean you have to look for exotic or expensive veggies and fruits to start “Eating the Rainbow”. It means you need to look for colours in your cellar and plan your meals in such a way that every meal is multi colour. For example, in your child’s breakfast you go for some sandwiches or milk or fruits such as pineapple/mango or banana. Now this means roughly two-three colours in every meal.
Do not always keep it monotonous such as only the chapattis/rice/Pooris and a vegetable like the mashed potato. Here’s a quick list of certain colors of food that indicate an abundance of specific nutrients. You can include any of these to various meals in order to ensure your kid is “Eating the Rainbow”:
Yellow, red and orange fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, gourds,) are abundant in vitamins C and A
White and Cream coloured Foods (milk products such as paneer, cheese, butter, buttermilk and curd)
· Green fruits and veggies (green peas, spinach, fenugreek, asparagus, avocado) are high in vitamins K, B, and E
Brown Foods (almonds, kiwi, chickpeas, whole wheat, beans) are rich in Vitamin E, B complex, zinc, magnesium, chromium
Blue, Deep Red, Purple produce (blueberries, eggplant, red cabbage, grapes) are high in vitamins C and K
Dangers of Eating the Rainbow
An over-focus on “nutrients” and “vitamins” leads to nutritionism, or the over-focus on food being a collection of vitamins and nutrients, rather than a whole package that your body treats differently depending on how its eaten, prepared, or what you eat alongside it. It’s easy to focus too closely on colors and nutrients and avoid the real goal—a balanced diet full of fresh, varied produce. When it comes to health and nutrition, it’s important to remember that focusing on one thing—especially when it comes to vitamins and minerals—is generally a bad idea. For most people, as long as you eat a well-rounded, balanced diet, you’ll get the nutrients you need, in a form that your body can use.
Methods to ensure “Eating the Rainbow”
Offering a wide range of colours in children’s food not only looks great but also ensures that children are receiving a great variety of nutrients. Here are some healthy ways you can interest children into the marvellous, colourful world of fruit and vegetables.
A great way to keep track of the colours children eat each day is to create a fruit and vegetable rainbow poster. Every time the children eat a colourful fruit and vegetable they can place a corresponding coloured sticker on the rainbow or get them to colour in a small section on the rainbow. This is also a great activity that parents can do with their children at home.
· Make a tropical rainbow fruit salad with fruits of each colour: oranges, strawberries, mango, kiwifruit, bananas, and blueberries. Stir fry your own mix of vegetables using each colour: red onions, carrots, baby corn, broccoli and mushrooms.
So, parents take advantage of the visual appeal of a rainbow of colours and help your kids to enjoy the healthy, nutritious meals throughout their lives.