Paint your Plate with Color

Eat WellHave you ever eaten a rainbow? It’s time to start. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors are linked to a myriad of health benefits thanks to phytonutrients found in plant foods. Eating a variety of foods will help you get essential nutrients and, by doing so, you’ll naturally embrace a broad color palate. Plus, you’re more likely to enjoy eating an attractive meal. Start enjoying the rainbow lifestyle! 

It’s not easy to find the motivation to adapt healthy lifestyle choices, which is why we connected with Summer Van Arsdale, a Registered Dietician at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson, and asked her for some advice to overcome a few common objections. 

I don’t really like to cook. 

“You don’t have to be a trained chef or avid home cook to enjoy cooking. Cooking a healthy homemade meal is just one more way to invest in your health and wellbeing. Start with simple recipes that take less than 10 ingredients to get you started. Think about your favorite foods and use that to brainstorm what meals you would enjoy making yourself for the week. Have fun and get creative! Making new foods can be part of the home cooking excitement. So, grab your colorful produce, an open mind and get cooking!” 

I don’t want to give up all my favorite foods. 

“Well… who says you must? I am an advocate of eating all foods in moderation. Love fried chicken? Who doesn’t? Donuts? Me too! It is about incorporating these foods alongside of high-fiber items to balance out your meal. Next time you are craving a donut for breakfast consider having it alongside of your favorite veggie omelet. Once you have decided that foods are good or bad you are adding shame and guilt to eating. Instead, try to incorporate an all foods fit model to your diet, and you might just realize food is not that complicated!” 

There just isn’t enough time to plan, shop, prepare, and cook healthy meals. 

“I understand that concern. Planning and cooking are a time commitment; however, they are also a commitment to yourself. You can make the time and effort to prepare healthy food now or you may spend the time and effort caring for chronic disease later. Having a plan makes meal preparation an easier process. Spend one night a week planning your favorite homecooked meals and from there make your shopping list. Use a weekend day to chop up fresh fruits and vegetables for the next few days to have on hand for cooking and snacking. It may not be easy, but you can do it.” 

Looking for some simple, yet healthy recipes to fill out your weekly menu? We tracked down these 5 Ingredient Healthy Recipes from Tasty to get you started.  

Foods that are good for your heart are also good for your brain. Starting today with focused efforts to adjust your diet can provide a reduction in risk for major health issues, improve memory, help with weight loss, and provide a fun challenge of creating new and exciting meals for you and your loved ones. 

Browse all seven Building Blocks for Aging Well to help maintain your brain health and wellness.