Better Bites: More Nutrition in Every Bite
Family life is a full plate! Meals get hastily "sandwiched" in between other activities, grocery shopping takes the back burner, and some days are packed with everything but nutrition.
That's why we've created Better Bites, an online nutrition resource that makes healthy choices more fun and less work for families.
Once a month, Better Bites features one simple, affordable, healthy change any family can make in a downloadable, printable edition for use at home or in the classroom.
Each page is packed with bite-sized inspiration and easy-to-digest nutrition lessons and tips—always sprinkled with a dash of fun for kids of all ages.
Discover quick and easy culturally diverse recipes, shop smarter, save time and pack more nutrition in every bite.
Eat a Rainbow
Why are there so many songs about rainbows?
Because they're awesome—not just in the sky, but also on the dinner table! Decorating your plate with many colors makes it really pretty, and more importantly, the rainbow helps you eat the complete range of nutrients your body needs.
What does it mean to eat a rainbow?
- It means choosing a variety of whole foods that are all different colors throughout the day and week.
- The more naturally occurring colors you can get on your plate at each meal or snack, the better.
- It does not mean making a rainbow with artificially colored foods (gummy snacks, soda, gelatin, popsicles, etc.)
The Nutrition Rainbow Connection
Fruits and vegetables get their beautiful color from naturally occurring plant compounds that also provide phytochemicals, a fancy word for beneficial micro nutrients that can help prevent disease and support the health and function of your whole body. One group of phytonutrients is disease-fighting antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium and vitamins A, C and E.
What's Under the Rainbow?
||apples, tomatoes, red cabbage, red onion, red peppers, cherries, strawberries, watermelon
||lavonoids, lycopene, vitamin C, folate
||heart health, memory
||carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mango, yellow peppers, pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe, lemons, oranges, peaches
||beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C
||healthy eyes, heart health, immune function
||green beans, peas, bok choy, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage, honeydew, grapes, broccoli, green peppers, spinach, kale, collards
||chlorophyll, vitamin K, carotenoids, isothiocyanates, omega-3 fatty acids
||healthy bones, teeth and eyes
||dark beans, eggplant, beets, blueberries, blackberries, figs
||memory and healthy aging
||ginger, jicama, onions, mushrooms
||heart health and good cholesterol levels
The Rainbow Dinner Game
Before dinner, draw a rainbow on a sheet of paper. Bring your drawing, a pencil and some scratch paper to the dining table.
Look for a food on the table to match each color on your rainbow. Write down which colors are missing.
Make a list of foods that would fill in the missing colors. Then add these to the weekly shopping list.
Take your rainbow to school and play this game at lunch with at least 3 friends!
TIPS FOR PARENTS: Bring more rainbows to your table with these colorful ideas.
- Put at least one produce item of each color on the shopping list every week.
- Buy what's in season to enjoy peak flavor and lower prices.
- Serve produce at peak ripeness. Some kids reject foods that are under or over ripe. Learn how to pick 'em with the Whole Foods Market® online fruit and vegetable guides.
- Rinse fresh fruits and veggies as soon as you get home so they're ready for kids to grab and eat. Store them within kid reach.
- Serve up food pictures or sculptures. Arrange raw fruit and veggie rainbows on plates, thread them onto skewers, or use toothpicks to stick chunks together and create pyramids, faces or funny characters.
- Let kids play with their food (just a little). Allowing them to build their own food rainbows and sculptures may inspire children to eat them.
- Serve a weekly rainbow dinner with every color represented at one meal.
- Put a rainbow of foods in their lunch box. They'll love showing it off and may encourage classmates to eat more colors, too!
- Serve fresh fruit as dessert. If your child is used to a lot of sweets, sprinkle on some granola, a drizzle of honey or vanilla yogurt, then over a few weeks transition to just fruit.
Next Steps: The Other Side of the Rainbow?
Keep food rainbows in the forecast and sustain the kid excitement with additional activities:
- Gradually transition to filling at least half your plate with colorful veggies then fruits at each meal.
- Pick a color theme of the week. Get as many fruits and veggies as you can find of that color, then let your kids taste them all. Add the favorites to your regular shopping list.
- Keep a rainbow diary or calendar. Let kids write down which colors they eat each day over a period of a week or month and then look back and talk about their favorites. Use stickers to make it fun, or download the “Today I Tried” Chart at http://www.todayiatearainbow.com/resources/free-downloads/.
- Plant colorful vegetables in the yard so they can see the rainbow grow from seeds.
Quick & Easy Recipes
Let kids help with the simple steps in green!
Rainbow Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip
- Choose your favorite fruits (berries, pineapple, kiwi, apples, oranges, etc.) and cut them into equal-size chunks.
- Thread them onto wooden skewers.
- Dip 'em into nonfat vanilla yogurt or a mix of 1⁄2 c. nonfat plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon honey.
Get a satisfying snacking crunch with a bigger nutrition punch plus the mildly sweet flavor of beets.
- 1 medium eggplant, washed and sliced into 1/8" thick rounds
- Sea Salt
- Spices (optional)
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Arrange eggplant rounds in a single layer on a large metal baking sheet.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant lightly with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and any other spices you like.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then check for doneness. When eggplant starts to brown on the top, flip it over and brown the other side for another 10–15 minutes. Chips should be crisp and very brown when done.
Tip: Try them with hummus dip!
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 yellow squash, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional) 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can crushed tomatoes with liquid 1 can tomato paste
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can chili beans
- 1 can whole kernel corn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, jalapeño, onions and garlic. Sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).
- Add canned ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Stir in spices and simmer 45–60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chili reaches desired consistency.
Download a PDF of the Eat a Rainbow edition of Better Bites: Eat a Rainbow (Color – PDF 2.7MB) or Eat a Rainbown (Black and white – PDF 1.4MB)
Download a PDF of the Roots edition of Better Bites: Roots Edition (Color – PDF 2.8MB) or Roots Edition (Black and white – PDF 2.3MB)
Download a PDF of the Raw edition of Better Bites: Raw Edition (Color – PDF 1.5MB)
Download a PDF of the Beans edition of Better Bites: Beans Edition (Color – PDF 1.5MB) or Beans Edition (Black and white – PDF 1MB)
Download a PDF of the Whole Grain edition of Better Bites: Whole Grain Edition (Color) or Whole Grain Edition (Black and white)