Georgia Boley MS, RD, LD, CSO is the registered dietitian at the Sheridan Senior Center. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community.  It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.

One of the many factors we consider when planning the Senior Center Menu is the color of the plate.  We want our food to be as appealing as possible, and if there is just one color on the plate it is not as attractive to the eye.  There is good reason our eyes are more attracted to colorful, fresh looking food. It’s because it is healthier for us!  We instinctually seek out more colorful food choices, and it is believed, in part, to be because we instinctually know that a variety of color is healthier for us.

It is wild to think about what the color of our food is telling us.  The color is telling us what ‘energy’ is in that food, as color is a reflection of electromagnetic energy.  Therefore, eating different colors gives us different ‘energies’ associated with different nutrients!  In other words, eating fresh fruits and vegetables of many colors ensures you are getting a variety of nutrients, as these colors reflect different nutrients and energy.  For example:

1. Red — Often red foods are beneficial for your vascular system and are anti-aging.  Think of red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, pomegranate, kidney beans, lean meats and beets.

2. Orange — Often with benefits to your skin as well as immune system.  This would be foods such as oranges, winter squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes and persimmons.

3. Yellow — Can be great energy sources and good for the digestive system when choosing yellow foods in their most natural form.  For example, corn on the cob, quinoa, yellow squash, bananas, ginger and curry sauces.

4. Green — Great for heart health, the nervous system, and anti-aging.  Wonderful greens include broccoli, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, green cabbage and green beans.  Some new green foods to try would be watercress, collard greens and beet greens.

5. Blues and Purples — Often great for digestive health, are anti-aging, and protective for your blood vessels.  This includes blueberries, egg plant, purple cabbage and blackberries.

6. White — Though many white foods are processed foods, there are some very nutritious choices here such as fish, onions and garlic.  One of my new favorite foods is white — it is the Jerusalem artichoke (also called a sun choke).  You can find it at Albertson’s, or you can request that your favorite grocer get some in.

In many ways, your eyesight is a great guide for choosing nutritious food.  Don’t be fooled by all eye candy, however!  Many processed food companies use our attraction to color variety to get us to buy their products — like Skittles and Fruit Loops.  These artificially colored foods deceive our natural eye instinct, leading us to be attracted to them even though they are unhealthy choices for us.

For more tips on adding color to your diet, feel free to call the Senior Center and ask for Georgia, the dietitian.  You can also check out some of Georgia’s recipes at www.tailorednutritionllc.com