Nutrition should always be a human priority and with March being National Nutrition Month put on by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), it can be easy to be healthy by consuming bright and vibrant foods produced by nature’s best. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme encourages consumers to remember to include a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day.

ADA President Judith C. Rodriguez shares:

“The American Dietetic Association is committed to improving the nation’s health, and one of the ways we do this is by providing science-based nutrition information to consumers in a way that’s easy to understand and apply to their everyday lives. National Nutrition Month offers a great opportunity to focus people’s attention on a universal theme that cuts through the clutter of information and gets back to the principles of a healthful diet.”

The recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an increased focus on a plant based diet. This combined with including lean meats, fish and poultry, and low fat milk and dairy products creates a rainbow of colors on the plate that serve as the foundation for a healthful eating plan.

Rodriguez continues:

“The Dietary Guidelines provide a great base for directing the eating patterns of Americans. The expertise of registered dietitians can translate the Guidelines into easy, actionable and personal information that can be used to develop a healthful eating plan that is right for the individual. ADA encourages all Americans to take time during National Nutrition Month to look at their eating patterns and begin to make the small improvements that, over time, add up to significant health benefits.”

Registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Karen Ansel adds:

“Adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to your plate makes for more than just a festive meal. A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients, each with a different bundle of potential benefits for a healthful eating plan. Healthy eating includes more than counting calories alone. In fact, most children don’t get enough of all the essential nutrients critical to normal growth and development. Food variety supplies different nutrients, so to maximize the nutritional value of your meal, include healthful choices in a variety of colors.”

Taste the rainbow:

  • Green produce indicates antioxidant potential and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks.
  • Orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity, and reduce the risk of some cancers.
  • Purple and blue options may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and may help with memory, urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks.
  • Red indicates produce that may help maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks.
  • White, tan and brown foods sometimes contain nutrients that may promote heart health and reduce cancer risks.

Ansel summarizes:

“Instead of grilled chicken and mashed potatoes, consider painting a more colorful plate, such as grilled chicken topped with salsa, mashed sweet potato, asparagus and spinach salad with orange slices. A colorful meal is not only visually appealing, but it also contains a variety of nutrients and is quite flavorful. For additional options in the color palette, choose frozen or dried fruits and vegetables available throughout the year.”

Source: The American Dietary Association

Written by Sy Kraft, B.A.