There’s nothing better than a sweet, juicy berry in the heat of summer! Berries of all varieties offer a boatload of vitamins and nutrients, as well as natural phytochemicals that offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and disease prevention benefits. Super food? We think so.
While berries are delicious, they can sometimes get boring on their own. If you’re looking for fresh and tasty ways to add them to your diet, consider these berry fun incorporation tips.
Suggestions for Consuming More Berries
1. Add Them to Your Oatmeal.
Blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries are great additions to breakfast foods like oatmeal. They offer a touch of sweetness without overwhelming your meal, but also add extra fiber to keep you full. For a healthier bowl, opt for low/zero-sugar oatmeal packs or make your own.
2. Add Them to Your Salad.
If you like a bit of sweetness in your salad, opt for berry varieties instead of sugary salad dressings. For additional protein, go for low-sodium nuts and beans like chickpeas or sunflower seeds.
3. Make Your Own Smoothies.
Most smoothie chains have beverages that are loaded with extra calories, carbs and sugars. And while they’re marketed as healthy snack or meal alternatives, they will usually do more harm than good. Instead, make your own smoothie by blending berry varieties and using bananas or low-fat yogurt for a creamy texture. For more health benefits, consider super foods like kale or spinach.
4. Pack a “Power” Side.
Are you making your lunches for the work week? What about for a picnic in the park? In addition to your main dish, pack a side of berries for extra crunch and flavor. They don’t have a lot of calories, but they’re sure loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
5. Make Homemade Jams and Jellies.
If you’re a fan of a classic PB&J sandwich or a piece of whole grain toast in the morning, make your own jams and jellies for the perfect project. Raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries and more can be blended together with a natural or zero-calorie artificial sweetener. Search sites like Pinterest or the Food Network for recipes you can modify to make your own healthy jams and jellies.
6. Throw Them in Cereal and Yogurt.
Again with the breakfast foods! If you enjoy a nice cold bowl of cereal, choose a whole grain variety without added sugars and throw some berries into the milk (skim milk or almond). To spice up a boring cup of yogurt, throw them on top alongside a spoonful of granola for texture.
7. Infuse Them in Water.
Berries can also help you stay hydrated! Besides its natural water content, you can infuse them in your drinking water for extra flavor. This might be a great way to encourage yourself to drink more. Plus, it can add a splash of color and texture — perfect for summer!
You should always have a hearty serving of fruits and/or veggies in every meal, and the health benefits of berries are undeniable: low in calories; rich in antioxidants; full of fiber; great for protecting against disease; great for improving cardiovascular health and more. If you can’t bring yourself to snack on them as they are, add them to your favorite foods and get creative! There’s no limit to the berry-full possibilities you can achieve if you work at it.
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