Eating in Color, the cookbook that I've been posting about for months now is finally about to hit stores tomorrow! It's a wonderful early birthday present for me.
I've been consumed with this book for about two years now. The idea for Eating in Color came to me when I was struggling to get my two year-old daughter Willa to try new foods. She had been an excellent eater as a baby, but like many toddlers, she was exerting her newfound independence by refusing to eat foods that were not in the beige category. As a mom, it was frustrating, and as a nutritionist, I knew I needed to fix the problem somehow.
Willa was obsessed with color--finding it in nature and the things around her, blending colors, and saying all the names of the colors. It finally dawned on me that if I made my approach to healthy family meals more about eating reds, greens and yellows, it might entice Willa more than if I talked about how great peas were for her. It worked! Willa was putting more reds (bell peppers, strawberries), yellows (corn, star fruit) and greens (sugar snap peas, kiwi) on her plate than ever before. It didn't mean that she ate everything, but she was at least willing to try it. And thus started our journey toward colorification.
What does it really mean to eat in color? It's about adding color-packed ingredients throughout the day to meals and snacks. That includes fresh and dried fruit and fresh vegetables, as well as whole grains and seeds. Yes, Black & Tan is a chapter in the book! Each time you go shopping at the grocery store or farmer's market, take a look in your basket and ask yourself if you have at least five colors in there. If not, it's time to head back and snag a few more.
Eating more colorfully can do a lot for you. Let me count the ways!
1. If you're looking to lose weight, it will help you trim calories. Why? Fruits and vegetables on the whole are high in fiber and low in calories. The more you fill your plate with them, the less room there is for processed, unhealthy stuff.
2. Fruits and vegetables contain compounds that reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, some cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Are you running to the store to buy kale yet?
3. If you want to get healthier, it's a no brainer way to do it. If you're trying to increase your intake of antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients, or plant-based protein, eating in color will help you get there.
4. If you're trying to eat more locally and sustainably, there's no better way than to boost the amount of locally produced fruits, vegetables and grains you eat.
5. If you want to teach your kids where food comes from and how to eat a balanced diet, just add color. Whenever you put produce on their plates, there's a story and a fun lesson just waiting to be shared. And of course, kids love to make their own picks at the grocery store. Instead of letting them do it in the cereal aisle, steer them to the produce section and let them take home something new to try. If they picked it out, they are guaranteed to at least try it!
I hope you'll join me as we launch #EatinginColor month. Look out for tweets about giveaways and other fun events related to the book.
Thanks for all your support!