Is one of your goals to eat healthier this year? Eating fruit helps control blood pressure and cholesterol, keeps arteries flexible, protects bones, and helps to maintain healthy eyes, brain, digestive system, and just about every other part of the body. But many of us have trouble getting five or more servings of fruits and veggies each day.
- Kids need 1-2 cups of fruit per day!
- Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).
- Dietary fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation. Fiber-containing foods such as fruits help provide a feeling of fullness.
- Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
- Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development. (source)
There are so many different fruits you can include in your families diet!
A few of them are:
Apples, Apricot, Avocado, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Dates, Elderberries, Gooseberries, Grapes, Grapefruit, Honeydew, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Olives, Oranges Papaya, Passion Fruit, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Plum, Raspberries, Star fruit, Strawberries, Tangerine, Tomato, Watermelon, and many many more.
- Try something new. It’s easy to get tired of apples, bananas, and grapes. Try a kiwi, mango, fresh pineapple, or another of the more exotic choices available at your grocery store.
- Blend in. A fruit smoothie is a delicious way to start the day or tide you over until dinner.
- Eat fruit for dessert.
- Try dipping your fruit in chocolate. In addition to a delectable dessert, you get plenty of heart-healthy antioxidants, some fiber, and a host of vitamins and minerals.
This year, make fruit your family’s dessert of choice! A few ideas to make fruit a dessert, rather than a side dish include:
Fruit Pies- Fill a pie crust with your favorite berries. You could even top your fruit pies with some whipping cream. Just use regular pie crust, or try a crushed nut or gram cracker crust.
Trifles- Layer yogurt, cake or crackers, and fruit in alternating layers.
Shortcake- Top shortcake with strawberries and enjoy. Optional: add whipping cream.
Fruit Pizza’s- Top crusts with a small amount of cream cheese and fruit instead of your usual pizza toppings.
Banana Splits- top a sliced banana with yogurt, chocolate, and coconut.
Fruit Skewers- Let kids alternate with different fruit on toothpicks or skewers. Optional: dip in chocolate or chocolate fondue!
Frozen Banana Bites- Slice bananas and add toothpicks before you freeze. Once your bananas are frozen, dip in melted chocolate. Optional: sprinkle with shredded coconut or other toppings.