Welcome to Week 3 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!
- Don’t forget to keep track of which meals and/or snacks you include a fruit or veggie and complete the tracking form weekly. We keep your responses anonymous and it helps me tailor our information to your needs!
- All are invited to join the Eat the Rainbow Facebook page! If you haven’t already, just click here and request to join.
Have a colorful week!
WEEK 3 TOPIC: Inflammation – What is it?
Put simply, inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to injury and invasion. When your body is damaged (from a cut for example) or is exposed to a pathogen (like a virus), your immune system fights back by releasing immune cells to the site of damage. These cells help heal and protect your body by fighting off pathogens, removing dead cells, and repairing tissues.
From what I just described, it probably seems like inflammation is a good thing – and under normal circumstances, it is! Our body uses the inflammatory response to protect itself and keep us healthy.
However, we start to enter into dangerous territory when inflammation occurs too often – this is known as chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can occur in response to many different things like a persistent injury, continued exposure to toxins, long-term stress, and gut issues. This chronic inflammation may then lead to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Specific to cancer, it is now thought that chronic inflammation may play a role in tumor development and may also prevent cancer cells from dying.
So how can you prevent and decrease inflammation in your body? We think one way is through your dietary choices!
Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and fatty fish is known to decrease inflammation in the body.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients – these are chemicals naturally produced by plants that help plants stay healthy, and have amazing benefits for humans as well. Phytonutrients are especially known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
How can you increase the amount of phytonutrients in your diet? Aim for as much color as possible! Phytonutrients usually give fruits and vegetables their color, so try to eat a wide variety of vibrant produce like kale, spinach, and cherries.
Week 3 Challenge: Eat the rainbow! Try to eat one fruit or vegetable from every color of the rainbow this week. Here are some ideas for each color:
- Red: tomatoes, apples, raspberries, strawberries, red bell pepper
- Orange: carrots, orange, tangerine, clementine, cantaloupe, sweet potato, squash
- Yellow: bananas, yellow bell pepper, mango, yellow summer squash
- Green: kale, spinach, romaine, kiwi, green grapes, green apple, Bok choy, zucchini
- Blue: blueberries, blackberries
- Purple: red grapes, eggplant, beets
Keep track of your rainbow and share pictures of your colorful fruit and veggies on our Facebook page!
Produce Highlight of the Week:
This leafy green is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It is especially high in vitamins A, C, and K.
- Vitamin A = essential for maintaining proper eye, kidney, lung, and liver function.
- Vitamin C = powerful antioxidant that can protect the body from damage.
- Vitamin K = important for blood clotting, calcium levels, and maintaining bone density.
How to Use
Fresh in salads, sandwiches, wraps, etc. Romaine lettuce can be a great addition to many dishes and can add a nice crunch!
Featured Recipe! Salad in a Jar!
Next week if 4th of July- this could be a fun recipe to make for your festivities!
Salad in a Jar with Basic Balsamic Dressing
Use Romaine lettuce as your green of choice to give this crunchy veggie a try!
Options for marinated veggies:
Options for hard veggies:
Options for other ingredients:
Grab a mason jar. Place veggies that would be good marinated in the jar first, then add dressing of choice (2 Tbsp for a quart sized jar).
Layer in the other “hard” veggies.
Add in your other ingredients. If adding cherry/grape tomatoes, leave whole so they do not get soggy.
Add in as much chopped lettuce/leafy greens to the top of the jar as possible.
Place the top on your jar, and place in the fridge to eat later!
Whisk the vinegar in a bowl with the honey, garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined and the salt is dissolved.
Add in the olive oil and whisk until combined.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
-Julie & The Interns