This is a common phrase thrown around by dietitians, but why is it an important concept in eating disorder recovery?
Eating the rainbow refers to eating a variety of foods, including vibrant and colorful fruits and vegetables. We all know eating fruits and veggies are important for nutritional reasons, including providing essential vitamins and minerals, fiber for digestive health and fullness, and contributing water for hydration.
Lets take a look at how food variety its helpful in your recovery:
- Colorful food or many colors in a meal may be more appealing or lead to a more satisfying and enjoyable meal. Satisfying meals means less seeking out other foods or triggering destructive behaviors.
- Variety prevents burnout. Eating the same thing every day can eventually lead to boredom and a poorer relationship with food.
- Eating disorders often cause nutrient deficiencies from eliminating many food groups or engaging in behaviors which wreak havoc on your brain and body’s ability to run efficiently. Talk to your dietitian about what kinds of foods may benefit you in your recovery.
One way to increase variety is food swapping- taking one food that you already eat and swapping it with another similar food. For instance:
- Instead of snacking on your daily apple and PB, try a pear.
- Do you drink juice with breakfast? Try cranberry instead of your usual orange juice.
- Cut up orange and yellow bell peppers with your dressing or dip instead of carrots.
- Stir frozen cherries into your morning oatmeal and heat.
Keep in mind that our bodies work in averages, not absolutes, meaning that food habits over time make a difference in your health and not to worry about having the “perfect” food plate at each meal.
Even small steps towards change can be beneficial for your overall health and recovery. So what can you do this week to eat the rainbow?