Eat the Rainbow

Nutrition Corner

How to Enjoy Eating Fruits and Vegetables

If you don’t like it, add it to something. Add spinach to soup, or add fruit to your smoothies.

If you don’t like the flavor, puree it. Sautee onions, garlic, tomatoes or other vegetables. Throw them in the blender, puree, and add them back to your recipe. This is very effective if you have kids in your home that like to pick things out of food or won’t eat them because of the texture or strong flavors of individual ingredients.

If it keeps rotting in your fridge, buy it frozen. Commercially frozen fruits and vegetables have the same phytonutritional value as fresh fruits and vegetables. Buy a bag of frozen broccoli, peas, or beans. That way you always have a vegetable to serve with a meal.

If it takes too long to prepare, buy it canned. Though some phytonutrient value is lost during the canning process, much of it still remains. Canned vegetables and beans are fast to prepare, and canned fruit may be presweetened, which can increase the likelihood it will be eaten. A piece of fruit with sugar is still better than choosing cake, cookies, or other food with no phytonutrients at all!

If you mix fresh, frozen, and canned, you will get the color rainbow you need, and your body will have the phytonutrient power to counteract other less phytonutrient dense food choices you make in your life. Next time you go to the grocery store or decide to prepare a meal, don’t forget the “rainbow.” Not only does the rainbow of foods burst with colors and flavors, it also provides necessary benefits for your overall health.

38% of adolescents and 36% of adults report consuming fruit less than one time daily.

Kids won’t eat it? Keep trying!

Here are the best methods for helping kids eat more fruits and vegetables:

1. Set the example! Eat your fruits and veggies in front of your children.

2. Keep at it. Research suggests a child needs at least 20 exposures to a new food before they will accept it.

3. Let your kids decide what they will eat for one meal a day, like lunch, but require them to eat what is served for dinner. You can even let them pick out the onions, as some of those healthy allyl sulfides mentioned in the chart will have left the onion and entered the meal during cooking!


1. Red: Lycopene: Tomatoes & tomato products - juices, soups, sauces

2. Red-Purple: Anthocyanins - Blackberries, raspberries, & Polyphenols grapes, blueberries

3. Orange:  a-Carotene - Carrots, mangos, pumpkins & ß-Carotene

4. Orange-Yellow: ß-Cryptozanthin -Cantaloupe, peaches, papaya, & Flavonoids tangerines, oranges

5. Yellow-Green: Lutein & Zeaxanthin - Spinach, avocado, honeydew

6. Green: Glucosinolates - & Indoles Broccoli, bok choi, kale

7. White-Green: Allyl Sulfides - Leeks, garlic, onion, chives

Dr. Parker holds a PhD in Nutritional Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He has extensive experience in food processing, food chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, and human nutrition. He has worked both in the supplement industry and in academia, making him uniquely positioned to understand product development, research, and the physiology and chemistry behind nutrition.

Dr. Parker has a contagious passion for teaching people about the connection between nutrition and living a long life free from the early onset of conditions associated with poor lifestyle choices.

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