Summer is the perfect time to lighten up your diet and eat healthier. I can't think of a sweeter way to do that than with fruit! It tastes great and adds variety and natural sweetness to your diet.People who eat a variety of fruit as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to reduce their risk of some of the chronic diseases that are prevalent today. Fruit provides nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body, and eating a variety every day is a great way to maximize good nutrition. Dark and brightly colored fruit such as berries, plums and mangoes are high in healthful antioxidants. Make sure to eat apples, figs and kiwis for helpful fiber too.Not eating much fruit? No problem! Try these helpful tips to get you going.
Track your servings of fruits for a week and then challenge yourself to eat a few more the next week. Aim for five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day.
Add variety! Experiment with unfamiliar fruits to sample new flavors and boost your nutrition.
Shop for fresh fruits in season - this will keep down the costs and the flavor will be at its best.
Keep fruit easily accessible. This means having it pre-washed and ready to eat. This is easier for snacking kids, too.
Choose whole fruit over fruit juice for the complete package of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and enzymes.
Fruit is not meant for snacking and dessert only! Experiment with fruit as part of a meal or a side dish. Apple Pear Sauce is great alongside roast pork. Grilled Mango Salsa adds wonderful flavor to grilled fish or chicken. Add fruit to a green salad: Peaches make a colorful addition Arugula Salad with Peaches and Blue Cheese, and Strawberries are sweet in Spinach and Strawberry Salad.
Stuck in a fruit rut? Head to our produce department for visual inspiration! Here's the next best thing: some of our favorites.
Berries: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberriesStone Fruits: apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plumsTropical Fruits: bananas, plantains, papaya, pineapple, guava, mangoCitrus Fruits: grapefruit, limes, lemons, oranges, tangerinesClassic Fruits: apples, pears, red grapes, green grapesMelons: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelonFresh, Frozen or Canned? Fresh fruit is best but having frozen and canned fruits on hand ensures that they're always "in season" in your pantry. The canned tomato (yes, a tomato is a fruit!) in all its chopped, diced, sauce and paste forms, is a special case. The heat processing of canning actually makes the lycopene (a beneficial antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color) easier for your body to absorb. And don't forget that dried fruits have their place too!Fill Up on Fruit Here are some ideas on how to easily add more fruit to your day:
Add berries or pineapple to cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or yogurt
Add chopped mango or pineapple to your salsa - great with corn chips!
Add chopped or grated apples or pears to your oatmeal
Have a bowl of fresh berries with a light shaving of chocolate for dessert
Order fruit desserts when eating out.
When ordering breakfast out, have a side of fresh fruit. It's great with just about any omelet or oatmeal.
Throw fresh or frozen berries, peaches or mangoes into a smoothie
Add fruit to pancake or muffin batter
Fresh or frozen pitted cherries make an awesome summertime pie or crisp
And let's wrap it up with a few delicious fruit-filled recipe suggestions:Banana Apricot MuffinsBerry Blue SaladBerry Waffle Breakfast SandwichCherry Almond SmoothieChilled Peach SoupCurried Chicken with MangoShrimp Tacos with Fresh Pineapple SalsaMango and Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Lime VinaigretteOatmeal Apple PancakesPeach and Cucumber SalsaWatermelon Salad with Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and BasilWatermelon Tomato GazpachoIf you've got some fruit ideas or a favorite fruit recipe, I'd love to hear.