A balanced diet should include many kinds of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy. Varying the color and types of foods will ensure the diet contains all the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

Add Colorful Fruits and Veggies

An easy way to add color to a diet is to include a variety of fruits and veggies. Produce tastes best and has the most nutrients when it is in season. Most of these foods are also low-calorie, low-fat, and low-sodium.

Color Fruits Veggies
Green Avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi Asparagus, broccoli, green peppers, leafy greens
Orange and deep yellow Apricot, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple Carrots, yellow pepper, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
Purple and blue Blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins Eggplant, purple cabbage, purple-fleshed potato
Red Cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, strawberries Beets, red peppers, rhubarb, tomatoes
White, tan, and brown Banana, brown pear, dates, white peaches Cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, turnips, white corn

Here are some quick tips to brighten meals:

Color Food Ideas
  • Add broccoli, spinach, or green peppers to pizza.
  • Add sliced apple to a salad.
Orange and deep yellow
  • Bake your own sweet potato fries.
  • Use yellow pepper instead of green pepper in recipes.
Purple and blue
  • Add blueberries to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  • Add strawberries to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  • Add red peppers and tomatoes to an omelet or scrambled eggs.
White, tan, and brown
  • Add banana slices to a peanut butter sandwich.
  • Try mashed parsnips and/or turnips instead of mashed potatoes.

Finding Fresh Foods

Some sources for fresh, colorful foods are:

  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs allow people to eat in color and in season. Some farms offer quarter-share or half-share options, fruit shares, and eggs. Programs are listed on the Local Harvest website.
  • Buy goods at a farmer’s market. Some farms also have winter markets that offer fresh local produce all year.
  • Start a home garden. It is economical and a great way to get other family members involved.

Choose My Plate—US Department of Agriculture

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada


Dairy. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/dairy. Accessed August 21, 2020.

Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed August 21, 2020.

Fruits. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website website. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/fruits. Accessed August 21, 2020.

Grains. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/grains. Accessed August 21, 2020.

Protein foods. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/protein-foods. Accessed August 21, 2020.

Vegetables. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/vegetables. Accessed August 21, 2020.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN  Last Updated: 2/26/2021