Monday, October 5, 2015

Color Your Plate!

By: Samuel Young | Intern

According to the CDC, amounts of fruits and veggies recommended daily varies based on a person’s needs. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may protect against chronic diseases. Color Your Plate encourages individuals to consume the appropriate amounts of fruits and vegetables daily, based on MyPlate guidelines. The first week of the program begins on September 28th and runs through the week of November 16th. Upload pictures of your plate, fruits, or vegetables and tag them with #eiumyplate for a chance to win a prize! Listed below are the themes and recipes for each week.  

WEEK 1: Introduction to the Program!
September 28th -- October 2nd
Week's Theme: Snap a Shot

Visit our photo booth from 11 AM to 1 PM on Tuesday in Taylor Hall, Wednesday in Thomas Hall, or Thursday in Stevenson Hall. Find us next to the entrances of the dining centers.

WEEK 2: Red Fruits
October 5th -- 9th
Week's Theme: Make it Half
Recipe: Snack Sized Strawberry Cheesecake

Red fruits are a colorful, tasty, gift from nature. They offer many health benefits due to their high levels of the plant pigments lycopene and anthocyanins. Red fruits also contain vitamin C, folate, flavonoids, and much more. Lycopene may help reduce cancer and heart disease risk, while anthocyanins may protect our cells from damage. Finally, flavonoids have antioxidant functions and can reduce inflammation. Overall, red fruits can play a key function in protecting our bodies.

Examples: • Red apples • Pomegranates • Cherries • Radishes • Cranberries • Raspberries • Pink grapefruit • Red grapes • Strawberries • Watermelon

WEEK 3: Yellow & Orange Fruit
October 12th -- 16th
Week's Theme: Go Bananas!
Recipe: Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal

Yellow and orange fruits contain over 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids!  Yellow and orange fruits are also known for encouraging anti-inflammatory responses. Combined with their antioxidant functions, these fruits may prevent cancers and lower heart disease risk. The vitamin C in yellow and orange fruits promotes the immune system, as well as skin/bone health. Lastly, these fruits have been linked to helping individuals regulate their blood sugar.

Examples: •Yellow apples • Peaches • Apricots • Pears• Cantaloupe • Persimmons • Pineapple • Grapefruit • Lemons • Mangoes • Nectarines • Oranges• Papayas • Tangerines

WEEK 4: Green Fruit
October 19th -- 23rd
Week's Theme: Get in "Lime" with Nutrition
Recipe: Green Apple & PB Breakfast Wrap

Besides being appetizing and nutritious, green fruits contain lutein. Like beta-carotene, this plant chemical also protects our eyes from damage. These fruits are also a great source of vitamin C, which works as an antioxidant to protect cells and improve skin/bone health. Green fruits are also a great source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and much more.

Examples: •Green apples • Honeydew melon • Kiwi • Avocados • Limes • Green grapes

WEEK 5: Red Vegetables
October 26th -- 30th
Week's Theme: Healthy from my Head Tomatoes
Recipe: Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quinoa Salad

Red vegetables contain all four major carotenoids:  alpha- and beta- carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Red vegetables are also great source of vitamin C, needed for proper absorption of iron.  They are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium, which may be linked to decreases in anxiety and prevention of hypertension.  So when it comes to veggies, seeing red is a good thing!

Examples: •Beets • Radishes • Red bell peppers • Red chili peppers • Red potatoes • Red onion• Tomato • Rhubarb

WEEK 6: Yellow & Orange Vegetables
November 2nd -- 6th
Week's Theme: Veg Out
Recipe: Pumpkin Smoothie (no blender needed!)

Yellow and orange vegetables provide small amounts of almost every essential vitamin and mineral! Vitamin C and vitamin B6 are the most common in these fruits and vegetables.  These vitamins support your immune system, as well as growth and repair of body proteins.  Other important nutrients found in these veggies include beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.  Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A promotes skin and eye health. Potassium plays a large role in maintaining proper muscular function in the body. Phosphorus assists in bone/teeth health.

Examples: •Squash • Carrots • Yellow peppers • Yellow tomatoes • Pumpkin • Rutabagas • Corn • Sweet potatoes • Yellow potatoes

WEEK 7: Green Vegetables
November 9th -- 13th
Week's Theme: Get Leafy With It
Recipe: Microwave Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Green vegetables are great sources of fiber, folate, vitamin A, C, E, and K as well as chromium.  Green veggies are also rich in glutathione, an antioxidant.  Green veggies have folate and vitamin B12, which work together to reduce cognitive decline.  Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes and skin, vitamin C keeps the immune system strong, and vitamin K is known for its role in blood clotting.

Examples: •Artichokes •  Arugula  • Asparagus  • Broccoli    Brussel sprouts • Cabbage • Green beans •Celery •Cucumbers •Lettuce  • Green onion  • Okra  • Peas  • Green peppers  • Snow peas  • Spinach • Zucchini

WEEK 8: Color Your Plate Overview
November 16th -- 20th
Week's Theme: Make it 1/2

The last week of Color Your Plate is an overview of tips for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption based on MyPlate guidelines.

We hope that you take advantage of the weekly challenges and show us what you are eating! Upload pictures of your plate, fruits, or vegetables and tag them with #eiumyplate for a chance to win a prize! Be sure to tag us on social media using the handles listed below:

Health Education Resource Center- EIUInstagram: @eiu_herc
Twitter: @eiu_herc

For more information, or to bring the competition to your hall, visit or contact our Nutrition Promotion Coordinator by email at

Click here to see our fruits and veggies parody of 'Worth It' originally performed by Fifth Harmony!


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