Eat a rainbow!
Vegetables and fruit fall into 5 different colour groups red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown. Each colour carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals. It is these natural chemicals that give vegetables and fruit their vibrant colour and some of their healthy properties.
Offering a variety of colours in children's food not only looks great but also ensures children receive a wide range of nutrients.
What's in a colour?
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple vegetables and fruits their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called beta-carotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes.
Green vegetables contain a range of plant chemicals including some which have anticancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting plant chemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.