Are you eating enough fruit? The USDA recommends that most adults get 2 to 4 servings (about two cups) per day, but many of us fall short! I personally love fruit and eat it often, but not everyone reaches for an apple when they’re craving a snack. Here are five ways to make fruit more fun. Most fruit are in season right now.
Add dark chocolate
If you still think chocolate is a diet no-no, it’s time to get up to speed. Dark chocolate is full of health benefits (in moderation, of course). Double your nutritional gains by paring it with fresh fruit. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips (a.k.a. dark chocolate), and drizzle it over all types of fruit: fresh berries, pineapple chunks, apple slices, you name it! You can also step up your game and make raspberry kiss crunchettes, choco-berry crunch yogurt parfait, or chocolate banana nachos all in moderation.
Turn it into S’mores classic’s
S’mores are inarguable delicious. Who doesn’t love melted chocolate, gooey marshmallows, and crunchy graham crackers? But I’ve found a way to slash the calories and fat count and up the health factor. I use a base of apple slices instead of graham crackers, and the result is mind — meltingly amazing! The apple adds a bit of juiciness that works so well with the other flavors.
If you have never eaten your fruit in frozen form, you’re missing out. Each piece is like a bite of an all-natural fruit bar! Grab a bag of frozen berries or mango chucks from the supermarket and pop them straight into your mouth. Just check the ingredients to make sure no sugar has been added.
Perk up salads
Think beyond veggies when you toss together a salad! Fruit can be welcome and tasty. Top your salad with berries for a burst of flavor, or cut up some apples for some crunch. Apples are one of my favorite crouton alternatives. Fruit can also add to deli-style salads. Whip up healthy chicken salad with light mayo and halved grapes. There’s more than one possibility, so give them all a try.
Fruit can taste even better if you grill it. Here’s a recipe to help you step up your BBQ game this summer.
Grilled juicy fruit kabobs and dip
¼ of recipe (1 kebab with about 3 tbsp. dip): 135 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 17 mg sodium, 30.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 23g sugars, 4.5g proteins.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 20 minutes to prevent burning. (You’ll need 4 skewers.)
Combine the following ingredients to make the dip: 6 ounces’ fat-free plain Greek Yogurt, 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly blended and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cut up the following fruits into 1-inch chunks you’ll need a cup of each: pineapple, mango, peach/nectarine, and banana. Thread them onto 4 skewers, packing the pieces tightly together. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
Bring a grill (or grill pan) sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add skewers, cover and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until fruit is slightly blackened and caramelized. If using a grill pan, work in batches, removing the pan from heat in between batches to re-spray.
Serve with dip and savor the sweet flavors of summer. Enjoy!
For more information, contact Lethia Lee at Sampson County Cooperative Extension, 910-592-7161, or [email protected]
Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.