A colorful plate isn’t just pretty to look at—it also serves up a beautiful dose of healthful nutrients! The compounds that give plants their pretty colors (orange, red, green, etc.) aren’t necessarily essential nutrients, but they do help protect us from many diseases, especially cancer. So to get the maximum benefit out of phytonutrients, make sure your plate is filled with a rainbow of colors. Here are some tips to help you bring more color to your plate:
1. Don’t overcook. When you overcook a vegetable, it loses its color. As the pigmentation is cooked out, so are the nutrients. Steaming is a great way to preserve the color and nutrition in vegetables. After a few minutes of steaming, broccoli becomes an even brighter green!
2. Add spices and herbs. Flavorful seasonings are a great way to make your nutritious dish more colorful and delicious. Garnish your meals with fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or dill. Add spices like red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and turmeric. Microgreens are another fantastic option.
3. Change one ingredient. If you usually make chili with red bell pepper, try it with a yellow one next time. If your salad is usually made with spinach or arugula, mix it up with some shredded red cabbage. Do you always make potato salad with white potatoes? Show sweet potatoes or blue/purple potatoes some love too. Are you in the habit of only buying white quinoa or brown rice? Try the red variety of each! By changing just one ingredient in the recipes you’re familiar with, you can easily add more color to your plate.
Jenné Claiborne is passionate about helping women adopt and maintain a plant-based diet so they can improve their energy, lose weight, and feel their very best. She is the founder of The Nourishing Vegan, a New York–based personal chef service. She is also the creator of Sweet Potato Soul, a vegan food blog that features recipes, tips, and cooking videos. In 2013, Jenné launched the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint, an interactive online program that takes the guess work out of becoming vegan. Follow Jenné on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.