Nutrients in Food Colors
Activities for Kids
Color it nutritious! Teach your children that a colorful plate means lots of “grow foods” (See Tips for Grocery Shopping With Your Child). What a beautiful array of colorful fruits and vegetables! You can use this eyeful of color to your advantage by teaching your child to choose naturally colorful foods. The brightest colors are found in produce that is in season, fresh, and eaten raw or lightly steamed.
- Play a color-matching game. What’s in the reds? Why is it good for you?
- Send your children out on a color-finding mission. When you’re in the supermarket produce section assign one child orange and green, and another child gets the job of choosing two yellows! This can also be an excellent way of introducing new foods and getting variety into the family diet.
- The vitamin game. When you serve fruits and vegetables, ask your children what vitamins and minerals they are high in, and why these are good for them.
- Have children color the fruits and vegetables. Then have them paste them on a sheet of paper in groups according to their colors.
- Have children draw pictures of food on paper plates. Are all the food groups represented? Use colorful markers.
- Ask your children what color foods they ate today. Talk about each food and its color. “Did you eat your yummy yellows and great greens today?”
- Create a “rainbow lunch,” a tray full of colorful foods cut into bite-sized servings.
- Kids remember colors. To get your children to appreciate the nutrient value of foods, teach them that colors mean healthy foods, or, in kid-language, “grow foods.” Remind them: “Did you get your reds today?”
|Colors||Food Sources||Nutrients||Health Benefits|
|Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and is one of the top ten anticancer carotenoids. It has been linked to reductions in the risk of prostate cancer. Anthocyanins have anti- cancer properties. Red peppers contain much more beta carotene (and more vitamin C) than green peppers.|
|Like lycopene, beta carotene is an antioxidant that is good for the eyes. It also reduces the risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease.|
|Orange or deep yellow||apricots and peaches
|Some orange/yellow vegetables, such as pumpkin and summer squash, contain the phytonutrient, lutein, which helps protect against degeneration of eye structure with aging. Carotenoids, like beta carotene, are the phytos that protect plants from sun damage. Perhaps they do the same for humans.|
|Dark green||kale, other “greens” asparagus
|Beta carotene||Dark green foods are rich in antioxidants.|
|Blue or dark purple||blueberries
|Anthocyanin||The pigment anthocyanin has anti-cancer properties.|
|Black or dark red||black beans kidney beans||Calcium
|Black beans are higher in fiber and calcium; red beans contain slightly more iron.|