Healthy Diet Ideas to Add Color and Flavor

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By Catherine Mason, Wellness Coach

When working with new clients, I’m often asked for ways to healthy diet ideas that are appetizing. My answer is, “keep it simple, flavorful and colorful.” By that I mean make sure you always have a few simple, healthy and colorful ingredients on-hand so they can easily be added to at least one component of every meal. Let’s talk about that in more detail.

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Healthy Diet Ideas that Are Colorful and Tasty

Colorful

The rule with fruits and vegetables is to eat a wide variety of colors and types. Incorporate more dark, leafy greens such as kale or spinach into salads. Add some reds, yellows and oranges to your meals too – tomatoes, beets, squash, yams, bell peppers, mangoes, papayas and carrots are all examples of colorful and healthy food choices.

Flavorful

I have a personal rule: I don’t eat foods I don’t enjoy. And for me, as for most people, flavor is an important element of food enjoyment. Play with flavors, and add them into meals in new and sometimes unconventional ways. For instance, I started adding chunks of fresh mango and cilantro to salads a few years ago, and was pleasantly surprised with the boost in both flavor and enjoyment that resulted. Find a few flavors that you really enjoy and add them to the foods you prepare to put a new and healthier twist on your diet.

Tips:

  • Next time you go to the produce department of your favorite grocery store, close your eyes. Open them and ask yourself which of the items are most colorful? Then, purchase one or two of those items to add to your diet.
  • Use jars of organic baby food as a way to add color and flavor to your meals. For example, add a jar or two of carrots or sweet potatoes to your next batch of marinara sauce.
  • Keep some of your favorite flavorful herbs on hand and add them to your meals. I like to add flavors such as cilantro, arugula, ginger and garlic to everything from salads to sauces, and even tea. Fresh, organic herbs grown at home or from the store are best. Some dried herbs can work in a pinch as well.
  • Be sure to keep at least one type of fresh, dark, leafy green in your refrigerator and add it to your meals. Most of them can be added to salads, certainly, but you may also want to try chopping them up and adding them to sauces, meatloaf and even baked goods (in appropriate quantities, of course).  Below is just one delicious, healthy, flavorful and colorful recipe to get you started.

mydietribe’s Chocolate Zucchini Kale Muffins

mydietribe’s Chocolate Zucchini Kale Muffins

Tip: Use food processor to grate vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini*
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded fresh kale*
  • 3/4 cup gluten & dairy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray two 12-cup muffin tins or two 8-inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Use a wire whisk to combine.
  3. In a large bowl or electric mixer, place eggs, oil, vanilla extract and agave nectar and mix until fluffy. Stir in applesauce, zucchini and kale. Stir flour mixture into batter until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Divide batter between prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes for muffins or 50 minutes for loaves, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaf or muffin comes out clean. Be warned that the toothpick may not be completely clean due to the high moisture content.
  5. Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out. Yields 24 muffins or 8-10 slices per loaf. When cool, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. These muffins/loaves also freeze well.

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Food Allergy Myths by Catherine MasonCatherine Mason is a writer, former educator, and someone who has multiple food allergies. As Tribe Leader & Chief Wellness Coach at www.mydietribe.com, she helps people identify, assimilate and maintain sustainable health and wellness practices in their everyday lives, with a focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial wellness. Catherine may be contacted at catherine@mydietribe.com, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@mydietribe).

 

What are some healthy diet ideas that work for you?

Do you consider food color when planning meals? Do you recognize any patterns in the foods you crave?

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Catherine Mason is a writer, former educator, and someone who has multiple food allergies. As Tribe Leader & Chief Wellness Coach at www.mydietribe.com, she helps people identify, assimilate and maintain sustainable health and wellness practices in their everyday lives, with a focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial wellness. Catherine may be contacted at catherine@mydietribe.com, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@mydietribe).

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