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Cut fruit and vegetables of all colors.

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber, and jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Color your plate healthy

By Mary Schroeder

eNews, January 26, 2006

Our world is surrounded by color: blue sky, green grass, white clouds, and red fire trucks. Everywhere you look there's color.

Think of your favorite grocery store. What department has the most color? Why, the produce department, of course! No matter what time of year, the produce department is filled with vibrant reds, greens, oranges, purples, and yellows.

In addition to vitamins, minerals, and fiber, fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals--compounds that may protect us from disease. (Examples of phytochemicals include anthocyanins, phenolics, lutein, indoles, flavonoids, and carotenoids like lycopene.) The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommends we choose from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week, and that most people eat two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables per day.

Here are some examples of how to add color to your plate with fruits and vegetables:

To learn more about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, see "Eat 5 to 9 a Day." For a copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, visit www.healthierus.gov. Mary Schroeder is a health and nutrition educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service Regional Center in Marshall, Minnesota.