Eating Healthy with the New Food Rainbow

Do you feel confused by all the new trends and dietary recommendations that exist online? Moran Kilzi, Dietitian and Nutrition Coordinator at Leket Israel, invites you to get to know the new Food Rainbow, a new initiative by Israel’s Ministry of Health.

The new Food Rainbow is a visual representation of the new dietary recommendations replacing the food pyramid we’re used to. The food rainbow is unique because it describes the frequency of recommended consumption of different foods, based mainly on raw foods that are mostly plant-based, with an emphasis on avoiding processed foods.

The outer blue arch promotes proper nutrition from a holistic perspective. The new recommendations encourage home cooking, environmental protection and sustainability, engaging in physical activity and eating together with family members.

The green line refers to foods that should be consumed at every meal: vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Leket Israel rescues a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. The produce collected during the year consists of 55 different types of delicious and nutritious fruit and vegetables in a variety of colors, which provide the body with important nutrients, such as different types of vitamins and minerals. Leket distributes produce to hundreds of thousands of recipients, thus affecting the quality of the food they consume during the week.

The yellow rainbow refers to foods that should be consumed at least once a day. First: healthy fats and oils for example: olive oil, tahini and nuts. Second: legumes and whole grains such as beans, lentils, peas, etc. Third: dairy, dairy products and their byproducts.

The orange rainbow refers to a varied consumption on a weekly basis of the following foods: chicken, turkey, fish and eggs.

The pink rainbow refers to beef, which is recommended to consume up to 300 grams per week.

The red which is the smallest arch, refers to foods that are harmful for our health and are recommended to avoid such as the consumption of sweets, snacks, sugary drinks and processed meats.

The Ministry of Health recommendations also refer to the level of processed foods. The recommendation is to consume foods that have been minimally processed, that is, raw foods, which are close to their natural state such as: fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, nuts of all types, and even poultry, fish and eggs. On the other hand, it is recommended to reduce and even avoid processed foods as much as possible. These foods are also called ultra-processed foods, whose consumption is harmful for our health. This refers to processed products that undergo significant amount of processing and may contain: processed food parts such as starch extraction, plant-insulated protein, mine fats, and artificial substances that change the color, taste and texture of food such as food colors and sweeteners.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods in many households in Israel. The reasons for this, is the combination of increased supply of ultra-processed foods, and lack of knowledge and awareness of adequate nutrition and its effect on health. The search for ready-made and satisfying foods brings many populations, especially low socio-economic populations to purchase and consume more processed foods, high in fat and sugar, and to under purchase fruit and vegetables.

Leket Israel is proud that its main goal is to rescue foods from the green arch in the rainbow, which is high in fresh agricultural produce, thereby providing its recipients with the highest recommended food for consumption for every meal of the day.

A study conducted by researchers from the Hebrew University studied the relationship between the quality of food distributed to nonprofit recipients and their nutritional and health status. The study found a direct, positive and clear correlation between Leket Israel’s specific contribution by increasing the number of healthy doses in the package and the overall nutritional quality of the donors.

Every year, Leket Israel’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety checks how much of all rescued foods belongs to each food groups. The annual average is 100% healthy food. In the past year, Leket Israel has rescued 18.5 million kg of fresh fruit and vegetables which were distributed through nonprofit organizations to hundreds of thousands of recipients weekly throughout the country.

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