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Eat the Rainbow

Written by Kristin Levanovich on May 17th, 2012


We’ve all been so busy and on-the-go that we eat whatever is fastest and most convenient at one point or another. For me, it’s chicken fingers and French fries from the airport’s TGI Fridays if I am traveling, and Burger King if I’m not. Fast food restaurants can be difficult to avoid, especially during business travel or particularly busy workdays. For whatever reason, fast food can also be comforting during times of stress, almost like a mini-break from thinking so hard and staying so focused.

But however comforting or easy it might be, these meals tend to be high in fats, sugar and calories, while being low in fiber and nutrients. For all those of you out there that have seen Fast Food Nation, you know just what I’m talking about. A recent study actually showed that people who ate at fast food restaurants twice a week, as compared to less than once a week, gained an extra 10 pounds and developed an increased risk for diabetes. In fact, sometimes a single meal from a fast food restaurant contains enough calories to satisfy a person’s caloric requirement for an entire day.

So what can you do to combat the grease? Dr. Kim Aikens and the Aikens Approach propose a simple remedy: every day, eat the rainbow. Keep a little chart like this one of the colors in the rainbow in your wallet or purse:

Mon     Tues     Wed     Thurs     Fri      Sat       Sun  

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue/Purple

Black

White

Using this chart, attempt to eat one fruit or vegetable of each color every day. Check off the colors daily as you eat them so you can keep track. Here are some examples of foods that you can try, though the options are numerous:

Red−watermelon, strawberries, cabbage, rasberries, apples, cherries

Orange−sweet potatoes, oranges, peppers, carrots, cantaloupe, papaya

Yellow−peppers, bananas, apples, corn, raisins, squash, pears

Green−spinach, lettuce, beens, apples, peas, peppers, brocoli, avocado

Blue/Purple−berries, blackberries, eggplant, plums, grapes, kelp

Black−beans, wild rice, sesame seeds, prunes, seaweed

White−onions, cauliflower, beens, corn, coconut, mushrooms, turnip

Compared to greasy, wilting fries, this list doesn’t look too bad! While fast food may be comforting as you shovel it in, it works against your health and ultimately, you’re body’s ability to manage stress. On the other hand, people who eat more generous amounts of fruits and veggies as part of a healthy diet are more likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. So next time that cheeseburger starts tempting you, pull out your chart and ask yourself what part of the rainbow can reward your body with instead!

Kristin Levanovich

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