By Tori Wheeler with , Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


Why do health experts encourage us to “eat the rainbow?” And, no, we don't mean the Skittles version! It's because eating a rainbow of produce is one of the best things we can do for our bodies.


Each color of fruit and veggies correlates with specific phytonutrients—natural chemicals that benefit our health in different ways. So, a colorful plate generally means a more nutritious plate. Pretty cool!

Often we’re more motivated to eat well when we understand the direct, positive impact foods have on our bodies. So, let’s take a few minutes to learn more about each color group and how it helps us stay healthy.

You’ll also find a colorful, nutritious recipe with each slide below to make it easier (and more fun!) to eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t consume enough of them. We don’t want to be one of the “most,” and we know you don’t either. So, let’s eat the rainbow!

SLIDESHOW: Fruit and veggie colors & recipes


    1. RED

    Supports heart, memory and urinary tract health. Red fruits and veggies also help prevent cancer.

    Good examples of red fruits and vegetables are tomatoes, cranberries, apples, red onions, watermelon, grapefruit, cherries and raspberries.

    Feeling adventurous? Go for guava!

    Recipe: Healthy Roasted Chicken and Veggies


    Support eye health, immune function and healthy growth and development

    Good examples of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are clementines, carrots, oranges, squash, pumpkin, pineapple, lemon, bananas, peaches and sweet potatoes.

    Feeling adventurous? Make a mango smoothie!

    Recipe: Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

    3. GREEN

    Helps to reduce the risk of cancer, promote vision health, and maintain strong bones

    Good examples of green fruits and vegetables are spinach, lettuce, grapes, kiwi, avocados, cucumber, and broccoli.

    Feeling adventurous? Bring home some Bok Choy!

    Recipe: Pineapple Pecan Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps


    Help improve cognitive function, support healthy aging and fight cancer. The darker the pigment, the better!

    Good examples of blue and purple fruits and vegetables are blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, plums and grapes.

    Feeling adventurous? Acai is full of antioxidants!

    Recipe: Colorful Quinoa Salad

    5. WHITE

    Supports healthy bones, the circulatory system, and arterial function

    Examples of white fruits and vegetables include mushrooms, garlic, cauliflower, pears, and onions.

    Feeling adventurous? Roast some rutabaga!

    Recipe: Crispy Zucchini Tacos with Cherry Pepper Crema

Hungry for more?

View more delicious, nutritious recipes on our healthy living blog. You can also learn about nutrition counseling classes offered by our experienced team of RDs at a Y near you. Let us help you reach your wellness goals!