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rainbow picnic table

Think outside the box we are often told. What does that mean for a table? For me: a picnic. Take your food outside and enjoy it in the fresh air and grass. Do something different, especially in social distancing times. I like it! For the beauty and health of it.

We all know vegetables and fruit are healthy but what does this really mean?

I asked Sarah, a registered dietitian nutritionist for more than 17 years at Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital in Michigan. She advised: think rainbow. Make your healthy food choices by colors, none of them is better or worse so including them all is important. Phytonutrients are compounds that give plants their colors and have disease-fighting abilities. Below are some examples that I picked.


Phytonutrients: chlorophyll and lutein which helps with eye health and prevent cancers.

My vegetables and fruit: cucumber, kale, spinach, parsley and kiwi.


Phytonutrient: cryptothanxin which helps with heart diseases.

My vegetables and fruit: corn, pepper, lemon and pineapple.


Phytonutrient: beta-carotene supports the immune system and skin/bone health.

My vegetables and fruit: pepper, beet, carrot, tomato and apricot.


Phytonutrient: lycopene reduces the risk of certain cancers and heart problems.

My vegetables and fruit: peppers, tomato, strawberries and apple.


Phytonutrient: anthocyanins are good for blood vessel health.

My vegetable and fruit: beets, cabbage and grapes.

I challenged myself to use these rainbow vegetables and fruits to prepare my picnic food.

Before the food though... all needs to look beautiful. Red and white checkers became a staple for picnics. This tablecloth I actually sewed myself few years ago. I paired the tablecloth here with blue flowered plates and blue striped napkins for a nice contrast. I thought a picnic basket is needed too, mostly for a cute look but it serves practical purposes as well.

The picnic food served here consists of:

  • Quiche with kale and apricots. I have been making this for years and alternate green ingredients such as spinach, leeks and swiss chard (I even planted some this year). Usually I add canned peaches as they taste sweeter than fresh apricots.

  • Red, orange and yellow stuffed peppers. I started first stuffing these with meat and rice and then vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower and butternut squash, both versions baked. Since these are fresh they taste and feel lighter, filled with cream cheese, red and orange tomatoes, cucumbers and spices.

  • Orange and purple beet chips. I grew up eating simple cooked, shredded beet salads. Then I advanced and baked beets for arugula salad with white cheese, pecans and oranges. Now for the picnic I baked thin slices to make chips. I like the idea of their crispiness.

  • Coleslaw with purple cabbage, carrots, corn and green parsley. I always liked cabbage, it goes well with carrots and corn that is grilled on the barbeque so it tastes earthier.

  • Fruit: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and purple grapes. I learned that if I peel and cut the fruit, they are more likely to be eaten... sometimes even before the main dishes.

  • Green homemade juice with pineapple, spinach, apple and lemon. Nicely cooled, it's a favorite of my guests probably because of the sweet pineapple.

Some say that the Bible is the best book to teach us about life anything you want, even how to eat. Some time ago Daniel's Fasting became popular. Here is the inspiration for that diet from the book of Daniel 1:11-15

Then Daniel said… 
"Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
… after ten days they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.

So enjoy your colorful veggies (hopefully outside), knowing that they are healthy, God recommended and delicious. Simply good for you any way you eat them!



a beautiful dietician who enthusiastically helps her patients to make good food choices to stay healthy.

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