Over the years you’ve been taught to count calories, fat grams, salt and sugar content, but did you know that your antioxidant intake might be the most important factor to your health and well-being?
The truth is, a healthy diet, especially for growing children, doesn’t need to include obsessive counting of anything —calories, fat or even sugar, SO LONG as there is a conscious effort to include color in every meal and snack.
First, when I say color, I’m talking about naturally occurring color—nothing artificial. Fruits and veggies get their color from antioxidants that are essential for your health and well being. They are literally what prevent disease and slow the aging process. And it’s essential to eat different colors every day because each color has it’s own unique set of disease fighting and health supportive properties. For example, the antioxidant that gives strawberries, watermelon, cherries and tomatoes (and other red fruit) their red pigment also helps protect your skin from sun damage and even provides a level of naturally occuring SPF!
WE LOVE BEIGE
While there are many health supportive white/brown/beige foods (think cauliflower, mushrooms, white peaches, garlic, bananas, potatoes, onions, parsnips, and turnips) we have a tendency to overeat them, mostly in form of processed carbohydrates (pasta, bread, crackers, etc.) Even when the package says “whole grain” or even “gluten free” or other health claims, it’s still all one color, so be sure to balance your plate with other colors of the rainbow. Otherwise, you’re missing out on essential antioxidants.
EAT THE RAINBOW
In one of my most popular classes for families, Eat the Rainbow, I present the children with a table of high antioxidant foods from every color of the rainbow — everything from fresh apples and berries to pesto on pasta to chocolate zucchini cake— and I invite them to choose, sample and explore with their taste buds. Kids are encouraged to try as much as they like. I always encourage parents to bring the kids hungry so they’re more willing to try. It’s a fun experiment and one of the best ways I know to encourage families to eat well.
TRY IT WITH YOUR FAMILY
Print out or have your child draw a big picture of a rainbow and make a stack of copies. Each day challenge the family to eat at least one serving from each color family and write it on the paper. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t be eating, add in more colorful foods and see how you feel after a few weeks.
Amara Wagner is a speaker and mentor who empowers moms to trust their intuition and guides them, with practical tools, to raise naturally healthy families. Her private and group coaching programs help women navigate motherhood mindfully and with a sense of humor, without dogma. Amara provides a unique, down-to-earth approach to moms who want to feel confident using whole foods and ancient remedies to support their family's health. She specializes in helping holistic-minded mamas parent from an intuitive place, without sacrificing their own health. To learn more about Amara and her programs please visit www.amarawellness.com.