Fabulous Fruit: Maximizing this Healthy Diet Staple

Fresh fruit display

Juicy apples, sweet strawberries, sour grapes, or any fruit can be a great addition to any meal or snack. Fruit is packed with nutrition and has a refreshingly sweet taste that makes you want to come back for more. It’s an excellent staple to add to your daily diet.

Just the Basics

Fruit is made from carbohydrates that provide energy, but it doesn’t contain any protein or fat. Oftentimes, people following low-carb plans may limit fruit, but it’s an amazing food group that shouldn’t be eliminated from your eating plan altogether.

Fruit gets its sweet taste from natural sugar. These carbohydrates still count as “carbs,” but they are a lot different than eating a chocolate chip cookie. Fresh fruit also has lots of fiber that helps with satiety, cholesterol and overall health.

It’s packed with other benefits as well, like vitamins and minerals. Fruits such as strawberries, oranges and kiwis are rich in vitamin C. Cantaloupe and blackberries are rich in Folate while cherries and bananas are excellent sources of Potassium. Eating a variety of fruits every day nourishes your body with a variety of nutrients.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and myplate.gov, a serving of fruit is one cup of fresh fruit or juice or half a cup of dried fruit. They also provide a general recommendation of 1.5-2 cups per day for women and 2-2.5 cups for men. Speak to a health professional for specific recommendations for your dietary needs.

Buying Fruit in Season

When you walk in the grocery store, you’ll see a variety of fruits filling the produce section. It’s usually easy to find just about anything you may want or need. For the freshest produce and best prices, choose fruits that are in season.

  • Spring: apples, apricots, bananas, kiwis, pineapple, strawberries
  • Summer: apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, strawberries
  • Fall: apples, bananas, grapes, pears, pineapple, raspberries
  • Winter: apples, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple

You can’t always choose fresh, and that’s ok. Check out the frozen section of the store for frozen fruit, a great addition to any smoothie! Canned fruit can also be an appropriate choice. Look for fruit packed in their own juice or water.

Where to Add it

Adding fruit into your diet can be easy. There are simple ways to sneak some in every day.

  • Sweeten your breakfast – Add berries to your oatmeal for extra nutrients and fiber.
  • Jazz up your salad – Slice up pears or add oranges to your salad.
  • Grab a snack – Eat a piece of fresh fruit in between meals.
  • Drink up – Have a small glass of juice with your next meal.
  • Choose a sensible side – Instead of chips or fries, eat a serving of fresh fruit.

Now that you know the basics, you’re in for a sweet treat! Fruit is great way to get more nutrients in your diet with a great taste to boot.

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