The colors of the rainbow are beautiful and display in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Our food comes in a multitude of colors, which can be best seen in the produce section of the grocery store reflecting a world of flavors. It can also be viewed throughout Florida’s many fruit and vegetable farms and production sites.
#FoodIsOurMiddleName is a new hash tag for UF/IFAS Extension. Florida is a great source of many food items, we put on our table. UF/IFAS Extension supports fruit and vegetable growers, the seafood and beef industries, and more, throughout the state with our research based and factual information.
Florida farms are a perfect source for colorful ingredients from tasty, red tomatoes to fresh blueberries.
As a registered/licensed dietitian and an extension agent, I promote variety, and portion control per the MyPlate food icon, when selecting foods and beverages to include in your daily diet. All foods can fit into a healthy and nutritious, balanced diet within moderation. Don’t forget food safety. Engaging in consistent food safety practices keeps your food and beverages safe to eat and drink.
Here are some colorful, healthy foods packed with nutrients to add to your plate during nutrition month, for good health.
- Red-Choose watermelon, red apples, raspberries, tomatoes, and strawberries. Add the color red to your plate. Fresh grown Florida strawberries are sweet and plentiful when in season. You can freeze them and enjoy this special treat all year long. https://branding.ifas.ufl.edu/media/brandingifasufledu/infographics/StrawberryFreezeInfographic.jpg People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
- Orange-Choose oranges, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mango, and orange colored squash. Mangos are sweet and contain several nutrients, including potassium, Vitamin C and folate. https://branding.ifas.ufl.edu/media/brandingifasufledu/infographics/ICSnutritionInfographicMangos_Final.pdf
- Yellow-Choose bananas, pears, pineapple, and fresh corn on the cob. Fresh sweet corn can be a delicious side dish and contains important nutrients. Eat vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet. https://branding.ifas.ufl.edu/media/brandingifasufledu/infographics/ICSnutritionInfographicSweetCorn.pdf
- Green-Add more dark greens to your salad such as baby kale, romaine, spinach and green leaf lettuce, green peppers, sliced cucumbers, broccoli, kiwi, green apples, and green grapes. Several leafy salad crops can be grown hydroponically in Florida, providing nutritious vegetables for home use. https://branding.ifas.ufl.edu/media/brandingifasufledu/infographics/HydroponicVegetableProduction.jpg
- Blue-Fill your grocery cart with blueberries, grapes, and blackberries. Blueberries can be grown successfully in home gardens in Florida and fresh blueberries contribute to a healthy diet. Blueberries contain nutrients and anthocyanins that may prevent and delay chronic disease development such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. There are many types of blueberries and the link provided is an interesting read on the types grown in Florida such as: emerald, jewel, windsor, and star varieties. An extension master gardener can teach you all about the basics of growing berries in your home garden. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/MG/MG35900.pdf
- Indigo (a shade of blue)-Add these to your shopping list: blueberries, blackberries, and plums. In the United States, the earliest blackberry cultivar development possibly dates to the early 1900s. Check with your local extension office master gardeners, to seek information on the success of growing blackberries in your area. Studies have shown that blackberries may help fight cancer, decrease cardiovascular disease, and slow down brain aging. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf%5CHS%5CHS135200.pdf https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/blackberries-for-the-home-garden
- Violet (shades of purple)-Choose eggplant, figs, plums, purple potato, purple kale, red cabbage, purple cauliflower, purple carrots, and purple grapes. Eat Florida produce in season. See the Florida growing season link below and note January to July for eggplant. Again, people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. https://branding.ifas.ufl.edu/media/brandingifasufledu/infographics/EatingInSeason_CropGraphic.jpg
Food Safety Tips
- Clean: Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, before and after handing foods. Make sure all kitchen equipment and surfaces are kept clean and sanitized too.
- Separate: Keep raw and cooked foods separate. Use a separate knife and cutting board for each. Don’t cross contaminate.
- Cook: Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to test the temperature of cooked foods for doneness. You can’t test for doneness by sight or smell.
- Chill: Refrigerate leftovers and other perishable foods within 2 hours.
“It takes sunshine and rain to make a rainbow. There would be no rainbows without sunshine and rain.” Author: Roy T. Bennett
Fruits and vegetables need sunshine and rain (water) too. Consider growing your own fruits and vegetables. Thank a hardworking and dedicated farmer today.
Choose foods wisely during nutrition month as well as all year long. Eat a variety of delicious and colorful fruits and vegetables.
Follow the rainbow, to good health.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
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