Fed up with eating plain, beige looking meals? Well, do not worry! Here are a few ways that you can brighten up your plate and get the essential nutrients into your meals for a balanced diet – which is vital for the overall health of the youth athlete as well as their recovery from training.
WHY SHOULD I EAT IN COLOUR?
Eating in colour is a simple, easy way to ensure that the youth athlete is getting a well-balanced nutritious diet. This basic tip has shown to increase the proportion of healthy foods such as fruit and reduce the number of unhealthy fats and oils consumed in each meal . Natural colours in most fruits and vegetables provide a range of health benefits including prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, inflammation and many more .
8 TIPS TO ‘EAT THE RAINBOW’:
- USE A RANGE OF COLOURS: the more colourful the plate the greater the variety of nutritional intake. Try to use foods of all colours to get the most beneficial effects from a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants e.g., beetroot, peppers, tomatoes, and olives in salads.
- TRY SOMETHING NEW: why not try a new recipe with new or different ingredients e.g., international signatures or something you have never had e.g., beetroot hummus (a personal favourite!)
- BE INSPIRED: follow food bloggers, chefs and try something you have always wanted to have and change it up. Remember the more colourful the better it is for you!
- GET CREATIVE: why not create competitions and get your youth athletes onboard to see how colourful they can make their plate and see what they can create with the food you have. It may have a theme or a particular design to keep it fun and exciting.
- THE BRIGHTER THE BETTER: my number one tip is to go bright as can be! With the spring and summer months approaching why not keep it bright and in line with the weather. Use colourful fresh produce e.g., salads, veg, fruit & get creative with them! Fruit can also be frozen, made into smoothies, or eaten as a healthy colourful snack.
- USE IN-SEASON PRODUCE: this will help to keep costs low and keep it varied whilst getting the benefit of fresh, in-season produce. Stick to fruits and veg that are in-season to get the tastiest foods and keep it bright! Remember frozen fruits are always a winner no matter the season – my favourites are frozen raspberries & tropical fruits (they are great for smoothies too!)
Did you know the YSN Kitchen App is packed full of amazing, tasty and healthy meals perfect for youth athletes? Why not download it for FREE and give some of the recipes a go?
Or, why not head over to the recipe section of our blogs to discover more healthy, tasty and simple dishes to make.
 König LM, Renner B. Boosting healthy food choices by meal colour variety: results from two experiments and a just-in-time Ecological Momentary Intervention. BMC public health. 2019 Dec;19(1):1-5.
 Yousuf B, Gul K, Wani AA, Singh P. Health benefits of anthocyanins and their encapsulation for potential use in food systems: a review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. 2016 Oct 2;56(13):2223-30.