Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Rainbow of Real Foods: The Choosy Rainbow Salad

By: Jennifer Ripepi, MD

There is a popular candy with the slogan "Taste the rainbow."  Let's try to get kids excited about the rainbow of REAL foods. Just for a moment, think about how food looks and presents itself. Many popular snack foods are really bland or neutral colored. Potato chips, crackers, pretzels are not really eye-catching or colorful. Now think about strolling through the produce section at the market. Wow! Color everywhere. There is a healthy, nourishing rainbow in the produce section of your grocery store. Let’s “taste the real rainbow.” And while you are tasting the real rainbow, take a listen to Choosy's song of the month, Yum Yum Yummy!



Remember ROY G BIV? That guy who helped you recall the colors in the light spectrum. Let's think of his name when we try to prepare the Choosy Rainbow Salad.

Red- little tomatoes or cherries or strawberries
Orange- orange peppers, carrot sticks, or an orange (little ones are popular now)
Yellow- yellow peppers, apples, tomatoes, or corn
Green- lettuce, broccoli, snap peas, green beans or any other greens are great
Blue- how about blueberries?
Indigo and Purple- grapes, blackberries, purple cabbage

Make it a game in the store and if there is something you haven't tried before, show your family what Choosy would do: Try it!

Now put it all together. Remember that just a little is all you need for each salad or make a bigger one for the family to share--that could save you time. Look at the picture to get an idea for assembling this or create your own way. You can cut the pieces up and everyone makes their own. Food art is fun, creative, and can include the whole family. Use a small amount of whatever dressing you like or try it dressing-free. It's your choice.


Encourage children to create their yummy, colorful snacks using the cut up veggie rainbow pieces you provide. Children are more likely to eat food they prepare. Not interested a rainbow salad? How about just adding a little of the rainbow to each meal? Fruit for breakfast. Fruit and veggie for lunch, and fruit and veggie or salad and veggie for dinner. That gets you to 5 in a day!

And remember, when you use some fruit or veggies to have colorful snacks, instead of bland junk food snacks, you are well on your way to giving yourself and your kids the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber they were meant to have as fuel. Real kids, real food!

Here's to Rainbow Power! What strategies do you use to have your children eat a variety of healthy colors?

About the Author: I have been a pediatrician for over 25 years. My husband and I have been privileged to raise 4 bright and healthy children. I have tried to gather wisdom from the families I have been blessed to meet during my journey. I believe in practical and flexible parenting to help raise healthy adults. I love to garden, hike, travel and cook and I am looking forward to hearing from Choosy followers.

20 comments :

  1. What a cute idea! Kids love anything colorful! This is a great way to get your veggies in for the day!

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  2. Awwwww love this idea!!!! I should make a rainbow for my daughter!!!

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  3. When kids are involved into food prep, they have a vested interest and more apt to try new things, I think!

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    1. Exactly! They spent all of that time making it, now it is time to eat their creations!

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  4. I love the "taste the rainbow" way of getting kids (and adults) to eat healthier. It's so true too. Every color serves a useful purpose. It's the best way to get a wide variety of nutrients in.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Appreciate it!

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  5. I love this! My son certainly likes candy, but he's also a fruit and veggie kinda guy. I'm going to have fun produce shopping this week!

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    1. Awesome. Teach him about this REAL rainbow instead of the candy version and see what he thinks :)

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  6. Great idea! My boys are definitely more interested in eating when they make it themselves. Pizza night is the most popular when we make our own. Definitely going to try this rainbow with fruits and veggies!

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    1. Ohhhh you could do a rainbow pizza! Please share if you do!

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  7. I love this way of getting kids (and adults) to eat healthier. Every color serves a useful purpose. Make it fun, the kids will like to eat.

    Stella Chiu

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  8. This is so great, whenever I cook meals for myself even I (as a grownup) try to eat as much of the rainbow as possible (especially greens haha)

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    1. There are so many more greens than the other colors I feel like. Eat the WHOLE rainbow! :)

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  9. Yes, getting children to get excited about fruits and veggies is what I try to do all of the time. When we go food shopping we pretty much load our carts with the rainbow. We watched a documentary with kiddos and it was about how so many are hungry in America because the can't afford fruits and veggie but the good stuff is much more expensive than the junk food. After that my kiddos are so thankful that they can actually eat all the good stuff we provide for them. Educating and talking to children about food is so important. So glad you shared this.

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    1. I'd love to know what the documentary is that you and your kiddos watched.

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  10. Love it! I want to make a rainbow fruit platter for Memorial Day!

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