Lately, I feel like I’ve been in a food rut. I buy the same things at the grocery store, cycle through the same meals for dinner and fall back on the same favorites. I’m just not feeling very creative! I’m also not very into dieting, but I was intrigued by the 7-Day Color Diet: eat five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day, of one specific color, for seven days. So I decided to try it. Besides, I wasn’t feeling as adventurous as some of my fellow Gigglers.
Now, I didn’t read the 7-Day Color Diet book. So maybe I did the diet “wrong”. But my approach was to eat fruits and veggies, try to stick to the color of the day as closely as possible and think outside the box a little. Seems simple enough, right?
1. To think about eating differently. I wasn’t out to lose weight per se, just to challenge myself and get out of a rut; to make meal prep more fun. This diet seemed like a good way to “force” myself to think more creatively about the food I eat, rather than just bringing the same old sandwich for lunch every day. I really wanted to enjoy this diet. Sure, I could buy blueberries and eat them until I’m at a serving. But what’s the fun in that? Let’s make blueberry soup!
2. To figure out what the heck a serving size actually is. This is the serving size guide I used. Is it exact? I still don’t really know, but I’m confident that for each fruit or vegetable consumed, I overestimated on serving size just to be safe. #yolo
I was expecting to spend a lot more time, and money, on the things I needed for the week. I collected my recipes, listed out my ingredients and made my shopping list. I had to buy more fruits and veggies than I normally do on a trip to the grocery store. I usually buy the same things in the produce section (lettuce for salads, bananas, strawberries or raspberries and a few avocados) and consume them as-is, but I really wanted to meal plan! Let’s buy an onion with a purpose!
Day 1: White
I wasn’t wild about white, and relied on a hearty dinner for most of my servings. (We’re off to a great start here.)
-Banana (servings: 1)
-Baked potato (servings: 2)
-Mushrooms (servings: 2)
-Breakfast: Rice Krispies with banana slices and milk
-Dinner: steak, baked potato and pasta with mushrooms
Thoughts: I split my servings over two meals, but not a bad first day. Guys, I can do this! But it’s too bad that steak isn’t a fruit. Wait – is it too late to switch to Atkins?
Day 2: Red
Does pink count? Beautiful. It does now!
-Strawberries (servings: 1)
-Raspberries (servings: 1)
-Tomatoes (servings: 2)
-Cherries (servings: 2)
-Watermelon (servings: 1)
-Breakfast: Peanut Butter Puffins with strawberries and milk
-Mid-morning snack: Greek yogurt with raspberries
-Lunch: tomato and mozzarella salad with olive oil and salt and pepper
-Afternoon snack: cherries and watermelon
Thoughts: Not a very adventurous day. I just kinda ate the fruits as they were. But can you blame me?
Day 3: Green
It’s not easy being green. Until now!
-Avocados (servings: 2)
-Lettuce (servings: 2)
-Various herbs (servings: 1) (maybe) (I guess) (they were green)
-Sweet peas (servings: 1)
-Breakfast: toast with avocado and red pepper flakes
-Lunch: salad with avocado, seafood pasta with scallops and lobster meat (the green stuff: basil, thyme and parsley)
-Dinner: pasta with peas
Thoughts: Today was fun. Fun food, fun color. I was feeling the green love through the day. Avocado toast may be my new favorite thing! #avocadoseason
Day 4: Orange
Because eating an orange would just be too easy.
-Orange juice (servings: 2)
-Peaches (servings: 1)
-Orange pepper (servings: 1)
-Sweet potatoes (servings: 1)
-Breakfast: orange juice, peach yogurt (That counts, right? I started to get lazy and buy the pre-mixed rather than mixing fresh fruit in myself.)
-Dinner: stuffed peppers, sweet potatoes
Thoughts: The stuffed peppers were heavenly. They made great leftovers, too. I wasn’t quite sure how I would tackle orange, but it worked out quite nicely.
Day 5: Purple
Yes, you read that right. Purple.
-Blueberries (servings: 1)
-Raisins (servings: 1)
-Eggplant (servings: 1)
-Breakfast: (lazy) blueberry yogurt
-Snack: trail mix with raisins
-Dinner: grilled eggplant with tomato and feta
Thoughts: Purple kinda sucked. The eggplant was good, though. I didn’t want to do the same thing I did for red and just eat a handful of blueberries and blackberries, so I tried my best. Even still, I only rounded out at three servings. I didn’t have enough groceries, and was kind of winding down at this point.
Day 6: Yellow
And it was all yellow.
-Pineapple (servings: 2)
-Yellow apple (servings: 1)
-Lemon (servings: 1)
-Corn (servings: 2.5)
-Breakfast: cottage cheese with pineapple
-Lunch: salad with yellow apple and Craisins
-Dinner: lemon and apricot chicken, street corn
Thoughts: A good comeback after a disappointing Purple day. Yellow was one of my favorites. I loved everything about Yellow day, and will be making that Lemon and Apricot Chicken again soon.
Day 7: Rainbow!
I cannot tell a lie: by day seven, the diet kinda broke down, because I was out of groceries. Okay, I probably shouldn’t have led with a headline as happy and exciting as “Rainbow!” and then dropped such a sad truth bomb. But guys, listen! It’s not a bad thing! The first six days of the diet were great, I had my meals planned out and I knew what I was going to eat every day. It just wasn’t in the cards to be awesomely prepared (and domestic) for the seventh day in a row.
From now on, every day will (I hope) (don’t hold me to that) be rainbow fruits & veggies day. It just gets hard to limit yourself to ONE color for a day. And there’s the ‘aha’ moment: you don’t have to limit yourself to just one color a day (although there are benefits of each, blah blah blah, it’s probably all explained in the book I didn’t read). Eating the rainbow is good!
I suppose the lesson in all of this WAS that it’s easier than you think to get your servings of fruits and veggies, but I was just exhausted from going all out for every meal, six days in a row. So on the seventh day, I had pizza. And it was good.
When it comes to food, there are so many options available. I know that’s the most basic, most “duh” statement ever, but seriously! It’s so simple to add fresh tomatoes to pasta, or have some avocado toast as a snack instead of some (read: an entire package of) Oreos. Just be more adventurous at the grocery store!
I also appreciated that I didn’t eat out as much, both on my lunch hour and for dinner. I had tons of delicious leftovers, I looked forward to bringing my lunch every day, and was excited to know what I was making for dinner every night. Every morning, I even woke up earlier at the thought of a delicious breakfast beyond the usual bowl of cereal! I’m not going to say the 7-Day Color Diet gave me a reason to get up in the morning, but I guess it kind of did.
Another big takeaway for me is that my headaches and migraines were practically nonexistent – which is huge for me. It’s not uncommon for me to have a headache at the end of the day, every day, and I take daily medication to help suppress the pain. I’ve heard and read countless times that the food we eat can control our mood and demeanor, but I never made much of an effort to look into the cause of the problem or to make a change. Maybe I got lucky or maybe it was just a coincidence, but a hearty serving of fruits and vegetables every day for a week seems to have made a difference.
One more positive thing: meal planning. Who knew meal planning could be so fun? Not to mention cost effective. Usually when I go grocery shopping, I pick up some fresh vegetables thinking I’ll use them, and a lot of them end up going to waste. But having a plan meant everything was bought with a purpose, and enjoyed on time! Thanks, 7-Day Color Diet!
I could have gotten more creative with my meals. When the color was red, my first thought was to have a serving of strawberries. But I could have made baked chicken in tomato bail sauce (according to the 7-Day Color Diet book description on Amazon). I got more into it as the week went on, but for the most part, I ate the fruits and veggies I got in the most basic forms. So sure, I succeeded, but I wish I’d pushed myself a little harder.
Also, I learned I could never be a food photographer.