Not many years ago, I remember reading the first words from nutritionists about the need to consider color when making choices about vegetable consumption and how this varied from traditional methods of choosing. The idea was that by taking multiple colors into consideration, one could avoid having to learn about each distinct vegetable and its particular benefits. It seemed too simple, of course, but over time I began to understand the wisdom of the words. Color can be your road sign to good nutrition.
Many people think only of green when it comes to vegetables and there is ample reason for that. Consider, if you will, the many green vegetables that are a part of good nutrition – even setting aside all of those we think of exclusively as salad vegetables – and the health benefits of those!
Then consider the other colors. There are numerous others out there, from the many colors of squash to the oddness of white cauliflower to the purples and beyond. Each has its own distinct nutritional benefits and pluses to factor into your healthy diet. Each is also somewhat different than the green vegetables with which you're probably familiar. When combined, they provide terrific and balanced nutrition without one having to do specific research.
Browse your local grocer and you are bound to run into many of these colors and products. Rather than learn about each individual one, which is certainly encouraged, look for a variety of colors in your shopping cart and you know you will have done well. Mix those colors, try some of the preparations you like or one of those I have offered to date and you will end up with an array of healthy eating options to incorporate into your healthy diet.
My own favorites? We've discussed how I use cauliflower. Other flavors of color that are in my top 10 include yellow and spaghetti squash, purple cabbage, both red and green tomatoes and red and white radishes. Other potential options are healthy beets, purple potatoes, and countless other vegetables. Don't be afraid to experiment and treat colored versions of vegetables the way you would the common varieties.
Commit to trying one new vegetable or color each week and you will find yourself discovering whole new, healthy favorites. And, in turn, you will have a more nutritional diet.
-Michael W. Sasser is Oklahoma Magazine’s former senior editor and an award-winning journalist. Neither a medical nor a nutrition expert, he shares his personal weight loss journey exclusively with Oklahoma Magazine readers. Reach him at [email protected].