When you think of fruit, you’re probably thinking of them as a snack or dessert, but I challenge you to think again! Fruits can easily be incorporated into your everyday breakfast, and can be used to add sweetness to savory lunches and dinners. It just takes a bit of creativity. Summer is a great time to get some seasonal produce at your grocery or local farmer’s market, but canned or dried fruits are also a great addition to your meals.
The American Heart Association recommends a colorful variety of 3 – 4 servings per day. If you’re using canned fruit, look for fruits canned in their own juice. A serving size is different based on the type of fruit and how it’s prepared.
• 1 medium apple, peach, orange or similar individual fruit (about the size of a baseball).
• 1 cup of fresh fruit, such as melon balls, watermelon pieces, pineapple slices, etc.
• ½ cup of dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins.
• ½ cup of fruit juice. Juice doesn’t have the same nutritious extras you get with real fruit, like fiber, but it’s good in a pinch. Look for packages labeled 100% juice.
Be sure to wash your fruits just before you eat them. That keeps them from spoiling before you get to enjoy them. You can also keep them in the refrigerator for a cool, refreshing bite.
Fantastic Fruit Food Ideas
Fruits are a component of a well-balanced meal, so be sure to get in your dose of fruits along with vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy. How can you add fruit to your meals? See my suggestions below!
• Add fruit to your favorite dry cereal. Try adding bananas, strawberries, or blueberries.
• Include fruits in your hot cereal, like oatmeal. Try adding apples, bananas or nectarines.
• Mix fruits into yogurt. Try raspberries, blueberries, cherries and melons.
• Add strawberries, pears, or pineapple to a salad of mesclun greens.
• Add dried cranberries or sliced fresh grapes to chicken salad.
• Spread nut butter on whole wheat bread and top with sliced apples.
• Puree fruits and top them over your favorite lean meat dishes as a glaze. Try apricots or mango.
• Thinly slice fruits and add them to a slaw. Try slicing apples, pineapples or pears.
• Include fruit in your next BBQ by adding them to kebabs. Try pineapple or peaches with chicken or pork.
There are infinite ways to increase your fruit intake. Get creative! Think of the meals you consume most often and find a way to incorporate a fruit you enjoy. There are no culinary mistakes when it comes to fruit!
Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and people with medical conditions like diabetes break free from diets and food rules so they can make peace with food and change their relationship with food and their bodies forever. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.