Creating a colorful plate at mealtime for our children helps set the stage for an adventurous palate and an appreciation for the nutritional benefits of our food. As Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine so aptly puts it, when kids “eat the rainbow” it should not come in the form of a plastic package of colorful sugar drops – and it certainly does not at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp.
Our campers instead embrace the motto set forth by singer-songwriter Jay Mankita – eat like a rainbow. Our rainbow is one made up of the delicious and nutritious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seasonal foods that comprise a nourishing diet. Whether we’re shopping at the Greenmarkets, preparing our homemade lunches, or learning about new fruits and veggies, we always have color on the brain (probably because our campers have such active minds from all of those blue and purple foods).
When we sit down together to enjoy a meal so lovingly prepared, we pause to appreciate the bounty of colors on our plate – from red beets and orange sweet potatoes, to green cabbage and purple rice. Not only does a colorful plate mean a diverse array of nutrients, it also brings beauty to each and every meal!
Here are some fun tips about rainbow foods to share with your family at home:
Red foods keep our hearts healthy and often have antioxidants that help prevent cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Orange foods have Vitamin C that helps boost our immune system and keep us from getting sick. They can also help us see better!
Yellow foods, like red foods, also help our hearts and contain antioxidants that can fight free radicals that might harm our bodies.
Green foods build strong bones, nails, and teeth!
Blue and Purple foods boosts memory and have phytonutrients that help fight off disease.
Check back each week for a recap of camp adventures in our annual Campfire Stories blog series – coming to you this year from our two camp locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. To see pictures, videos, and more of the camp experience, visit us on facebook and check us out on twitter!
Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education