Eat the Rainbow Week 11: Produce Myth #3

Welcome to Week 11 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!



A reminder that our last zoom meeting of the challenge will be this Friday, March 26th @ 12:00 Eastern!! Register for the Zoom meeting here!

Can you believe there are only two weeks left in the challenge?? How are you feeling? Check in with yourself to see what improvements you’ve made, and also note what you want to accomplish in the next two weeks! 

Are you wondering “What’s Next?” after we wrap up Eat the Rainbow? I am excited to announce that we will start an 8 week physical activity challenge on April 5th! It’s called Move More Stress Less and will involve weekly emails, an exercise video of the week and physical activity tracking logs. Check out info or sign up here!

This Week’s Topic

This week, we’re covering our third common produce-related myth

MYTH: Raw foods are more nutritious than cooked foods. 

FACT: Some nutrients are deactivated during the cooking process, but some are activated. Consuming food items cooked and raw are both nutritious ways to eat. 

Why do we cook food

Roasting, steaming, sautéeing, baking, boiling – we have many methods to cook our food. But why do we do it? 

The process of cooking food helps to break down fiber and plant cell walls, which makes fruits and vegetables easier to digest. This process can also make it easier for our bodies to absorb nutrients from the cooked foods. 

Not to mention that cooking food often improves its taste and aroma, making it more enjoyable to eat. Who wants to eat cold food all the time? 

However, some say that cooking fruits and vegetables destroys the vitamins and minerals found in those foods. These people (often called “raw foodists”) think it is better to eat your fruits and vegetables in their raw, uncooked form. 

This is partially true – cooking has been shown to decrease vitamin C levels in fruits and vegetables due to the unstable nature of the vitamin, which is easily degraded through heat exposure.

However, cooking has also been shown to increase levels of certain antioxidants in fruits and vegetables such as lycopene, carotenoids, polyphenols, and beta-carotene. 

All in all, neither cooked or raw foods can be considered “healthier” than the other. Whatever makes you more likely to eat more produce is the best option – if it tastes good, you’re going to eat it. The most important thing is to eat your fruits and veggies, no matter how they’re prepared. 

Week 11 Challenge:

Try preparing one of your favorite fruits or veggies in a new way! If you usually eat it raw, try it cooked! If you usually sautée it, try it roasted! If you’re looking for a new idea for sweet potatoes, try out our recipe for easy roasted sweet potatoes below! Take a picture of your creation and post it to our Facebook page. 

Produce Highlight of the Week: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable that have great health benefits. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and potassium. They are a good example of a healthy complex carbohydrate, and are a great source of energy. 

How to Use

Sweet potatoes can be baked, roasted, and steamed. Eat them whole, cubed, cut into fries, mashed, or blended into a soup. They are a great addition to savory or sweet dishes! For savory, try sprinkling them with some smoked paprika. For sweet, use cinnamon instead. 


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Roasted Sweet Potatoes



  • 34 sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes (or leave skins on for extra nutrients!)
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces, or slice them thin.
  4. Place sweet potato pieces onto a baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix well on the baking sheet and arrange potatoes into a single layer.
  7. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until tender (thinly slices potatoes will cook faster than cubed).
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

-Julie & Intern Olivia

Eat the Rainbow Week 12: Produce Myth #4
Eat the Rainbow Week 10: Produce Myth #2

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