One theme with feeding littles early on is “feed the rainbow”. By providing a variety of foods, you give them tons of nutrients and open them up to new foods for years to come. Different colors usually come to represent a new set of goodness for them. This is kind of engrained into me for some reason. I am very disappointed if my meal lacks a variety of color. It may seem silly but my ideal dinner is a meat(brown/beige), sweet potatoes/squash(yellow/orange), a green veggie and a blackberry cobbler (Hey I am realistic…did you expect something fancy?). I also have blue plates so it looks EVEN BETTER.
I have already started making sure Oliver has lots of colors throughout the week. Just like in my own diet, I know a variety of colors ensures a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. I know food in the first year is for fun but it is building your child’s feelings and actions around food. You want to set the best example possible. Plus? It is super easy! We aren’t making lasagna…just steaming veggies!
Here is a short synopsis of different colors and usually what those foods represent nutritionally:
- Red – reduces the risk of some cancers. Many red foods contain Lycopene that is an antioxidant linked to reducing prostate cancer.
Examples: Tomatoes, watermelon, guava, beets, red potatoes, red apples
- Orange – supports immune system and improves eye sight. Betacarotene is the powerful antioxidant in this group.
Examples: Carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, pumpkin
- Yellow – more immune support and inhibits tumor cell growth. Vitamin C all the way here.
Examples: Citrus fruits, papaya, peaches
- Dark Green – build genetic material and healthy cells. Folate is the name of the game here. Popeye was right!
Examples: Spinach, kale, collards and other greens
- Light Green – detox the body of excess carcinogens and estrogen. Also usually high in fiber
Examples: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower
- Blue/Purple -Antioxidants like whoa and protect cells from damage. They may reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
Examples: most berries, grapes, plums, eggplant, figs
- Brown – Fiber and iron. In the case of infant food, this is really mostly whole grain cereals and legumes.
What colors does your little one love or hate?