Not only does eating whole food representing the colors in a rainbow (broccoli, red peppers, eggplant, peach and so on) mean that you are getting a diverse range of nutrients but also, if chosen appropriately, you can elicit certain emotions by the colors you consume.

I initially got interested in the “eat the rainbow” concept when my daughter was a picky eater and making meal time fun helped create an atmosphere that enticed her to try new things. In fact, when she was a toddler I signed us up for a class called Eat a Rainbow at our local natural food store and I was shocked by how excited she was to prepare food and eat new things. Lovely and luscious! What I didn’t realize was that what she was eating, specifically the food hues she was choosing, impacted her mood.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned that the color of food can have a significant impact on our perception of what we are eating and subsequently on our mood. Knowing this allows us to have some control over our emotions. Certainly there are times when this is very useful so start by asking yourself what emotion you would like to bring forth from a meal and then pick the food that matches that emotion. For example the color blue is soothing if you are feeling blue while yellow tones help with memory and alertness. According to a report published in the “College Student Journal” in 2004 that analyzed college students’ responses to various colors, green evokes primarily positive emotions, such as comfort, relaxation and associations with nature. Green-yellow, on the other hand, was linked with feelings of sickness and disgust. To avoid the latter, opt for fresh, ripe, bright or deep-green naturally colored foods and be sure to shy away from artificial color-rich but nutrient-poor processed foods when playing this game at a dinner party and beyond. I know my daughter will always carry this concept around with her and at times I still pull it out when she is preparing for a big day at school. How do you want to feel? Do you want the color of your food to elicit yumminess not just in taste but also in how you feel in your body? Then go ahead and eat lots of delicious color.

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