Maybe it's the time of year. January: the month of trying to hold on to new year's resolutions, a fresh slate, an opportunity to try to new things. Whatever it is, there's been lots of talk about eating healthy. You see it on facebook, on TV, you hear it among friends. Often times, there's a sense of overwhelm - Where do I start? How do I make it last? If I could offer my humble two cents, I would say one thing:
EAT A RAINBOW.
Yup, that's it. That simple. I mean sure there's more we could talk about but I think small steps ensure consistency. And consistency brings us a whole lot closer to overall healthy living.
Here's what we do around here. We try to eat at least three colors per meal. If I'm rushing to make lunch and hand my 4-year old a peanut butter sandwich with an apple, she'll say, "Mom, 2 more colors please." Oh yeah. So then I'll go through the fridge and find some carrots and purple grapes. There it is - 3 colors for lunch. We talked early on about these colors being things that we can pick or grow (with the exception of cheese). In other words, blue tortilla chips and a watermelon fruit roll up - although yummy - don't count. :) Green salads are anything but just green. In fact, we try to see just how many colors we can throw into one bowl. It's kind of like a game, but boy does it work. And last but not least, you must employ the crunching game. Table manners are put on hold for a second as we see who has the loudest crunch. I still hold loudest crunch for carrots, but my little one is queen of crunching a bell pepper. It's fun. No more, "Eat your vegetables!! They're good for you!"
For now, my 4-year old understands that these colorful fruits and vegetables give our bodies energy so we can play all day, run real fast, help us grow and make us happy. As she gets older, we'll explain that these phytonutrient-rich foods are amazing antioxidants, strengthen our immune system, reduce inflammation and contribute to overall well being.
So, instead of shocking your family with an entire plate of foreign foods they've never seen or heard of, just start slow. Add color to your meals and simply start with the rainbow. I also found that pre-rinsing and chopping means I'm more likely to eat everything instead of letting things get pushed to the back of the fridge only to spoil and be thrown out.
Last summer I wrote about my favorite hummus recipe. It's the sweet potato hummus recipe from Power Foods, but it can also be found on the Whole Living website. It is delicious - every time.
Normally I use regular sweet potatoes and it looks like this - just like regular hummus but a bit sweet from the sweet potatoes.
Over the weekend, I used purple flesh Okinawan sweet potatoes and it was deeeelish. In Hawaii, we ate Okinawan sweet potatoes all the time. In fact, I didn't know there was any other type. I finally found some at my local Asian food market and was so thrilled!! Don't you just love the colors?
And here's our rainbow salad: spinach, greens, grape tomatoes, almonds, orange bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms. Colorful, crunchy and so yummy.
So instead of being overwhelmed, just slowly add some color. You'll see how easy (and delicious) healthy eating can be.
Peace and Rainbows,