The Benefits of Eating a Variety of Foods

The Importance of eating a variety of foods


Every day, I wake up and drink water with some electrolytes, lemon or apple cider vinegar. Then, after I exercised, I eat a late-morning breakfast which mostly consists of a vegetable salad and egg. For an afternoon light meal I might have a soup, a small salad or a protein smoothie. Throughout the day, I’ll snack on some sugar free dark vegan chocolate. And for dinner, I eat some form of protein (such as chicken or salmon) with vegetables. This is a normal, full day of eating for me.


I hardly think about what to buy at the grocery store or what meals to prepare, because eating the same thing daily doesn’t feel boring to me. I’m a creature of habit - I know what I like, and what works for me, so don’t feel the need to change it. Yet, there is a case to be made for having diversity in your diet. Specifically, diversity in fruits and vegetables, two of my favorite things to eat.  


Mark Twain famously said, “Don’t eat your vegetables because they are good for you. Eat them because they are so beautiful!” Now, I do want to make a case for vegetables being important because of how good they actually are for you, but just think for a moment how blessed we are when we can add some color to our plates. And the “eat the rainbow” adage is a great starting point. Each color in our produce indicates the presence of certain phytonutrients. These are compounds that give plants their individual colors, taste, and health benefits.


Red produce, for example, is rich in the phytonutrient carotenoid lycopene, which protects us against free radicals, prostate cancer, and heart disease. White and brown produce, such as the onion family, contains the phytonutrient allicin, which is believed to have anti-tumor properties. Grapes, blueberries, plums, and other blue/purple produce contain anthocyanin, which are antioxidants that help delay cellular aging as well as support heart health. Then there is one of the most well-known phytonutrients, beta-carotene, which is found abundantly in orange and dark, leafy green vegetables. It offers strong support to immune system functions, vision, and skin health. 


To encourage us to introduce more variety of vegetables into our meals, I have found meal prepping to be a great way to do so, as well as to keep up the routine that I value. It has been called, “slow food” by some, simply because there is time and love spent by us in the preparation of such meals.


Try mix different combinations of smoothies, one week including bananas and strawberries, and the next week trying almond butter and blueberries If you find fresh produce to be too expensive, it helps to buy frozen ones, because it limits waste and is often more cost effective than fresh produce. I would also recommend seasoning and roasting different vegetables each week. Store them in the fridge (or freezer) and reheat on the stove.


You could make a batch of roasted fennel, cauliflower and broccolini. Or a combination of zucchini, mushrooms and artichokes. Find seasonings and spices that you like, because these will transform the same base of vegetables into unique meals. I particularly love black seasoning, or a combination of cumin and coriander. Or try cilantro with ginger and a little jalapeño. Or turn your cauliflower medley into a delicious dry-seasoned curry blend with curry powder, garam masala and turmeric. You can use whatever you’d like.


Experiment and have fun. I love roasting vegetables like this because it allows you to introduce variety into your diet while still maintaining any personal dietary preferences. 


These are just a few ways I’ve been incorporating diversity into my diet, without breaking the bank. Small lifestyle changes like these are the easiest way to stay consistent while still making a considerable impact on your health and well-being.