"Eat The Rainbow..."



You already know that you should be eating "5-a-day"...


Five different fruits and vegetables, to hopefully ensure the minimum recommendation of a variety of key nutrients.



However...


1. 71% of UK adults DO NOT manage to eat 5 fruit & veg per day! (NHS data for 2017)


2. Five portions is merely the recommended minimum (Not necessarily the optimum amount).



So for various reasons, most of you should probably be aiming to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.


"Eating the Rainbow" is a useful for a few reasons;


  • at least 6 different colours means at least 6 portions

  • different colours means plenty of variety (which is also important)

  • provides a structure and target to work towards throughout the day (possibly a slightly more interesting way of looking at it?)


Everyday, the aim is to eat at least one fruit or vegetable representing each of the following six colours; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple...



Red



  • Strawberry

  • Raspberry

  • Red Onion

  • Cherry

  • Tomato

  • Cranberry

  • Red Pepper

  • Chili



Orange


  • Butternut Squash

  • Orange

  • Sweet Potato

  • Carrot




Yellow


  • Lemon

  • Banana

  • Honeydew Melon




Green


  • Broccoli

  • Cucumber

  • Celery

  • Green Beans

  • Cabbage

  • Avocado

  • Leek

  • Kale

  • Brussels Sprouts

  • Spinach



Blue


  • Blueberries

  • Blackcurrents

  • Blackberries





Purple


  • Aubergine

  • Beetroot

  • Red Cabbage

  • Prunes





Rainbow "Plus"


Upgrade the method by adding two more colours...



Beige/Brown


  • potatoes

  • onions

  • chickpeas




White


  • mushrooms

  • garlic

  • cauliflower





You can of course add other fruits and vegetables to the lists. There are plenty of others in addition to the ones i've listed..


And, as you'll see below, the more variety the better....




Vitamins, Minerals & Nutrients


To a certain extent, the varying colours of fruits and vegetables will give you some clues regarding the nutrients that you might be eating...


For example, many of the orange fruits and vegetables, are orange because of a compound called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A (important for various reasons including the immune system, vision and healthy skin).


This IS NOT the only way to get Vitamin A by the way.


By eating a range of colours you should automatically ensure a decent amount of variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.


(This does not apply 100% of the time... for example, foods from most of the categories could provide Vitamin C. Do some research on each individual food if you are not sure whether you are achieving enough nutrient variety).


Nonetheless, the easiest way to cover as many different nutrients as possible, is to INCREASE the quantity and VARIETY of fruits & vegetables in your diet.


'Eating the rainbow' provides a useful, and slightly more interesting way of doing so.




Challenge


An additional challenge (for if/when you're confident of maintaining the 5-per-day minimum)...


Increase the variety of fruits & vegetables that you eat even further, by setting a weekly target of at least 30 DIFFERENT fruits and vegetables.


The weekly total will be 35+ assuming that you are eating the recommended amount (or more)...


So you would only be able to repeat a handful of individual fruits and vegetables over the course of the week.


You may even end up having to discover something you've never tried before.


Again, the benefit is simply the fact that you will be eating a wider range of vitamins and minerals. As opposed to eating the same narrow range of fruit and veg day after day.




Reminder


More than two thirds of UK adults DO NOT eat the recommended 5-a-day.


Achieving that minimum is important...


Don't complicate things until you've integrated that minimum into your routine.


Apart from the general effects on your health, your fitness progress is largely reliant on a number of vitamins and minerals that you would be missing out on by not eating these foods...


In other words, if you're confident that your'e training 'correctly', and you've calculated your calories/macros etc, but you are still confused by your lack of results...


This could be one of the major reasons why.