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Play for life: Eat a Rainbow!

September 12, 2017

Eat a rainbow! 

Eating vegies and fruit every day makes for a healthy childhood, as well as setting in place lifelong healthy eating habits. But try telling that to a little one who won’t eat their vegies! So how can you encourage kids to eat enough vegies and fruit each day?

The first solid foods most babies eat are vegies and fruit. These often continue to be a major part of their diet for the first 12-18 months. When kids are exposed to a wider range of foods, they may begin to lose interest in vegies and fruit. Try to delay the introduction of unhealthy foods like chips, chocolate, lollies and biscuits. Once introduced, limit these foods and encourage kids to keep eating fruit and vegies everyday. 

Vegetables and fruit fall into five different colour groups. Each colour has its own set of unique vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and natural plant chemicals – these are what give vegies and fruit their vibrant colour and healthy properties.

Offering a variety of colours not only makes the food look more appealing to kids, but it also ensures they’ll be eating a wide range of nutrients. 

What's in a colour?

RedRed vegies and fruit are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.

Purple/BlueAnthocyanin gives blue/purple vegies and fruit their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Orange/YellowCarotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called beta-carotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It’s converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes.

GreenGreen vegies contain a range of plant chemicals including some which can help prevent cancer. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of folate.

Brown/White: White vegies and fruit contain a range of health-promoting plant chemicals – for example, allicin (found in garlic) 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.


Article source: https://goodhabitsforlife.act.gov.au/kids-at-play/eat-rainbow