Author: Dakia O’Brien
When we were in primary school, in home studies we were all taught the fundamentals of eating. Come on, you know that triangle with all the fruits and vegetables in it known as the food pyramid? That bland looking thing that rarely caught anyone’s attention.
It may not be visually appealing, but the information is very important. The food pyramid gave us Nutrition 101. We learned about fats and sugars, dairy, grains, meats and so on. It also supplied us with the recommended servings we should have each day.
With no shame at all, raise your hand if you follow this daily with your kids? Raise your hand if your kids can remember most of the information on the chart? If you raised your hand, con- gratulations, I am proud of you. If you didn’t, pull up a chair and lean in closer.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You eat with your eyes?”
Well it’s true. Studies have shown that when a food is more visually appealing, it’s more appetising. Out of the five senses, sight comes first. You see your food before you taste and touch it and most times before you smell it.
Colour is important! We can use colour to influence our kids’ eating habits and encourage them to eat healthier foods. The use of different colour combinations will have kids in love at first sight. So in love, they will rarely notice foreign ingredients.
Now, before you go and start throwing a rainbow of mess on a plate, let’s discuss what properties each colour holds.
Green vegetables and fruits are the most accessible. They include lettuce, asparagus, celery, and grapes with the most popular being broccoli. Green vegetables are associated with cellular health, digestion and eyesight. Detoxing is also associated with green vegetables.
Tomatoes, peppers, beets, red onion, strawberries and plums are just a few fruits and vegs that fit in this category. The reds are just as important as the greens. Packed with potassium and Vitamin A & C, reds are great with lowering blood pressure and helping with your urinary tract amongst other things.
My mom used to always tell me to eat my carrots if I want good eyesight and I swore down she was crazy! But it’s true, orange vegetables contain beta-carotene; when in the body it converts into Vitamin A, which is the main component in health hair, skin and vision.
Yellow and orange fruits/veg are very close in relation and often categorised together. Yellows are known to help boost your immune system and help with skin just like oranges. They also are full of vitamin C and potassium, like bananas. Hold tight Bermuda, the drought is almost over!
Not many kids like beets and eggplant. Not to worry though, some farmers use selective breeding to alter the color of vegetables. For example, you can now purchase purple cauliflower, carrots, potatoes and asparagus just to name a few. Although slightly altered they still carry the same nutritional benefits. Purple vegetables contain anthocyanin which protects you from cancers, protects mental health and is a great anti-inflammatory. Blueberries and blackberries are great to incorporate into your child’s diet.
Just because they aren’t colourful, that doesn’t mean that they should be left out. The whites carry properties that assist with healthy bones and aides in a healthy circulatory system. Potatoes, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms and garlic are just a few that fall in this category.
There are so many more benefits of adding colour to your meals. Talk to your children about the benefits of fruits and veg and grab their attention with the colours. Also, don’t overdo it, start with tiny portions here and there until they get used to it. A key tip is to include one or two new items in a meal they like. The extra dash of colour mixed with something familiar is a likely hit.
Remember, we eat with our eyes. Make it bright and make it right!
Visit our website at www.thepickylittleeatersclub.com to sign up for virtual cooking classes, cool, kid friendly recipes and merchandise. BPM