Food Color Challenge
My previous summers were usually filled with spontaneous day trips, large family BBQ's and lounging at the pool. Thanks to Covid-19, now I take meticulously planned day trips, have small spaced out family picnics and there is hardly any lounging, even at the pool.
To bring some spice to what has been an unavoidably monotonous summer, I decided to dare my daughters into taking “the food color challenge.” The concept is simple. Pick a color and eat any food that matches (more or less) for an entire day. We agreed upon a three-day challenge, selected the colors green, red and white and got to work making meal plans.
Day one: Green
Menu: spinach and broccoli quiche, green salad, green apples, cucumbers, and a celery and pear smoothie.
We picked green because we thought there would be many foods to choose from. We thought wrong. An hour after lunch my girls began to complain of hunger and I felt their pain, my own stomach screaming at me to find something more filling. While we have never eaten so many healthy vegetables in one day, I’d say that eating my greens can be painful without a good, solid protein. The day ended with groans and moans, and I was worried that the girls would quit the challenge.
Day two: Red
Menu: berry smoothie, tomato salad, red peppers, red apples, and a red bean and meat tomato mixture.
I greeted my girls with a berry breakfast smoothie and asked if they wanted to continue the challenge. They said, “definitely.”
So, I made them a tomato sauce with added meat and kidney beans for lunch. Red tends to be a color that packs more nutrients into foods, so I hoped we wouldn’t be as hungry as the day before. To my surprise they downed plates full of meat sauce, never once complaining about the beans. My youngest even made me cut her some red peppers as a snack, because, “it’s a color she can eat.” We went to bed satisfied, and our stomachs full. Still there were some complaints that they wanted to eat something delicious, which they felt they were deprived of on the first two days.
Day Three: White
Menu: Egg whites, onions, yogurt, butter, roasted cauliflower, pita bread, popcorn, pancakes, and white ice cream.
While white foods may not be the healthiest, they most certainly are delicious. The day started with pancakes with white chocolate chips for the kids and roasted cauliflower and egg whites for me. I must admit that the ice cream did continue a small about of dark chocolate and I did add a few almonds to my yogurt, but other than that we keep to our color scheme. The girls were happier than green day, though not as full as red day. And I enjoyed every little kernel of popcorn leftover from snack time. No one wanted to continue the challenge, but we were all proud that we had completed three days of eating (mostly) one color.
All in all, I am glad I accepted this challenge. It gave the kids a love for foods they would have never tried if there hadn’t been a competition. They also turned down candy because, and I quote, “it wasn’t a color of a food I can eat.”
We all agreed that white was our favorite day, who doesn’t love pancakes, popcorn, and ice cream? We found red day the most filling, and green day was unanimously voted the toughest, as well as the least tasty. But nothing was as satisfying as sticking my fork into a medley of food the next day.
I have learned from this food color challenge three things. That food can be fun in many colors; that my kids do enjoy quiche, kidney beans and celery filled smoothies. And most importantly, that the most delicious plate of food is a diverse one.