It’s winter, which means the days are shorter, colder, and snowier than you’d probably like them to be.  Let’s face it – New England winters can feel downright drab.  This time of year, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of black, white, and gray – but it’s even easier than you think to add a little bit of color to your day, as the answer to your winter blahs lies right in front of you, on your dinner plate.

According to the USDA’s My Plate initiative, an ideal plate of food would contain ½ fruits and vegetables, ¼ lean protein, and ¼ whole grains.  That means that half of every meal you eat should be comprised of fruits and vegetables.  Not only do fruits and vegetables add the aforementioned burst of color to any meal, they also provide a host of beneficial nutrients.  But not all fruits and vegetables are the same nutrition-wise, which is why it’s important to try to eat at least one fruit or vegetable from every color of the rainbow each day in order to ensure you’re getting the variety of nutrients you need.

When choosing fruits and vegetables, it helps to “think in color” and categorize each piece of produce into one of the following color groups:  blue/purple/black; orange/yellow; red; green; and white.  Fruits and vegetables from each color group generally share several key nutrients:  blue, purple, and black fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, a potent group of antioxidants; orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are great sources of Vitamins C and A; red produce is a good source of lycopene, another powerful antioxidant; green produce, especially the leafy kind, can be an excellent source of iron and calcium; and even white fruits and vegetables are nutritious – most white produce is high in selenium, a mineral that’s essential to a number of important bodily functions.   If you need some help visualizing what a rainbow of fruits and vegetables looks like, you can download a Fruits and Veggies Color Wheel here ppt format of color_wheel2.ppt

This winter, no matter the weather outside, challenge yourself to think in color every single day by eating a variety of nutritious, delicious, fruits and vegetables.  Your day is almost guaranteed to be a little bit brighter by doing so!  

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.