Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web

When It Comes to Your Diet, Colorful Equals Healthy

When It Comes to Your Diet, Colorful Equals Healthy


By Alyssa Trautman, MS, RD, LD, Parkland Health Center dietitian

One of the most impactful pieces of nutrition advice is also one of the most simplistic: eat the rainbow. Many health organizations promote incorporating a variety of colors into your diet. If you include more colors, you will inevitably consume a wider variety of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. One study showed that 8 out of 10 Americans fall short on consuming enough color. As a result they are missing out on many phytonutrients, which promote a variety of health conditions.

Phytonutrients are the natural chemical compounds that give foods their color. There are thousands of phytonutrients, all with different health benefits. Here are a few:


  • Produces a red or pink color in foods
  • Examples: tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit
  • Reduces risk of prostate cancer and promotes heart health


  • Produce a yellow or orange color in foods
  • Examples: Bell peppers, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes
  • Source of antioxidants and are good for eye, skin and immune health


  • Produce a blue or purple color in foods
  • Examples: red cabbage, radishes, berries, red onions, plums
  • Source of antioxidants and reduce risk of stroke

For some, especially children, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is challenging or unappealing. This is when it’s time to get creative! Many fruits and vegetables are easy to puree and are easily masked in other food dishes. For example, pureed carrots hide easily in spaghetti sauce. Or chopped mushrooms mix well into ground beef! And who doesn’t like smoothies? The combination of fruits and vegetables for your smoothie is limited only by your imagination!

Summer is abundant with colorful fruits and vegetables, making it a great time to try something new. Make it your mission to get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet – and remember to be inspired by the rainbow!

Mango Pineapple Smoothie


  • 1/4 cup of fresh banana
  • 1/4 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4  cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup 100% pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey

**Foodie Challenge – add matchstick carrots for even more vitamins!

Use a blender to combine all ingredients and blend well.


Very Berry Smoothie


  • 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup 100% apple juice
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

**Foodie Challenge – add red spinach for even more vitamins!

Use a blender to combine all ingredients and blend well.

Previous Article Parkland Employees “Share Blessings” With Beloved Local Charity
Next Article Tabetha Harris-Risenhoover Awarded Landrum-Hirsch Nursing Scholarship

Parkland Health Center
Bonne Terre
7245 Raider Road
Bonne Terre, Missouri 63628
Parkland Health Center
1101 West Liberty Street
Farmington, Missouri 63640
Copyright © 1997-2019. BJC HealthCare. All Rights Reserved.