Fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are naturally low in calories. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help w i t h we i g h t m a n a g e - ment and can help re d u c e your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Do you remember "Roy G. Biv"? You may remember this name from grade school. "Roy" is not an actual person.

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Roy G. Biv is an acronym to help us remember the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Fruits and vegetables come in all the colors of the rainbow, and white ones such as potatoes, onions and cauliflower also provide nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables add color to your plate and nutrition to your menus.

Is Your Menu Rainbowcolored?

Think about the colorful fruits and vegetables you include on your menus. Do you include all the colors of the rainbow?

To get the most fruits and vegetables for your money, check out the store grocery ads for seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Compare prices of fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables. They all count toward your total.

Which of these rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables do you include in your menus?

Can you think of other favorites to go in these categories?

Red: apples, red cabbage, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, red grapes, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, watermelon

Orange: cantaloupe, carrots, oranges, peaches, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, tangerines

Yellow: yellow apples, corn, lemons, pears, yellow peppers, pineapple, yellow tomatoes

Green: green apples, artichokes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, green grapes, kiwi, lettuce, peas, green pepper, spinach

Blue/Indig o/Violet:

blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, figs, Juneberries, plums, prunes, purple grapes, raisins

Don't forget to include some white fruits and vegetables such as bananas, cauliflower, garlic, jicama, onions, parsnips, potatoes and turnips on your menu.

Question: Are canned and frozen fruits and vegetables as nutritious as fresh?

Watch for added salt or sugar in canned and frozen vegetables or fruits.

The different forms of fruits and vegetables are nutritionally similar considering the time most food takes to reach us, according to a University of California study. Vitamins can be lost when fruits and vegetables are canned or frozen, and also when being transported or stored.

All forms of fruits and vegetables have health benefits and are part of an overall healthy diet. To enjoy the freshest produce, consider growing a garden or buying from a local farmers market this upcoming summer.

Excerpted from "http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/fo odwise/newsletters.htm." For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, FNP Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First Street East, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse @ndsu.edu.