FIT&FAB: Why the colour of what's on your plate matters

Wednesday November 15 2017

Spice up your meals with lush colourful veggies and fruits. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


I went to Moi Forces Academy, Lanet and the Molo-line matatus would drop us off at the Tea Room stage around 11.30 am.

On my way to board a matatu to my home in Ngong, I would always stop over at Paul’s Cookiemans bakery for some cake and take-away cookies. Oh, I relished those cakes.

The moment I neared that joint, a small ocean would automatically begin to form in my mouth. White forest, black forest, red velvet, vanilla cupcakes; their wide array of colourful and delicious cakes always left me spoilt for choice. I had a budget every term for Paul’s Cookiemans cakes.


That bakery literally sweetened and coloured my high school life.

One day, I dropped in as usual and was just about to place my various orders as usual when I caught sight of this luminous green slice of deliciousness with a strawberry perched in the middle and chocolate oozing at the sides.


My heart skipped a beat.  Following my drooling gaze, the attendant asked if I would like to try out this new exciting flavour.


A plate from one of the healthy meals made by yours truly. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

Without a moment’s hesitation, I nodded in the affirmative as I rummaged through my backpack to dig out the extra money outside my budget.

The cake was green with red strawberries and dark chocolate streaming from its edges; of course I wanted to try it, duh-huh!

Colour is a powerful aspect of food. It gives it its appearance which in turn whets our appetite boiling down to our eating behaviour.

I have seen people serve lumps of dull boiled food and torture themselves to clear their plate in the name of “healthy eating.”

You find a plate heaped with boiled cabbages and potatoes wallowing in watery soup simply because someone is watching their weight.


Two weeks down the line, the person either gives up on their entire journey or is uptight and miserable.

One of these days we shall talk about why at times people on a diet appear to be so angry and bitter with life.

Been there, done that.

Dull or colourless food is a stumbling block to your fitness journey, this I have tried and tested.

Spice up your meals with lush colourful veggies and fruits.

These will not only increase your appetite for healthy food but will also ensure that you get maximum nutrients that are normally lost when one overcooks food.

For vegetables, steam them so as to retain their colour and crunchiness. Stir-fry veggies and meats in healthy oils such as coconut oil, butter, olive oil or lard to give them shine without compromising your pursuit for fitness.

Add a teaspoon of baking soda when boiling peas to keep them bright and green.

You may have colourful food in your cooking pots but that still does not guarantee food appeal.

How you present this food to yourself on the table is also very important. Invest in beautiful plates.

I would recommend flat large plain colour plates.


They form the backdrop of your meal. Like any other effective backdrop, the less busy, the better. Otherwise, your attention will be drawn to the plate if it is too flowery instead of the food and this beats our purpose.

Be deliberate as you arrange the food. I have been teased by my family for “decorating” food and taking forever to serve meals, but their plates always come back to the kitchen licked clean!

Small efforts like these go a long way to ensuring that the food on your plate is appealing to the eye flattering to your taste buds and most importantly, constructive for the body. Isn’t that simply fabulous?


Fit&Fab is a blog series by Marion Maina who lost 30kg in her weight loss journey that started two years ago and is now in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]