Food: 5 Simple Tips to Keep Summer Sweet
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With summer in full swing, I hope you’re eating some good for you fruit. Too often, I hear people say, “Doesn’t fruit have too much sugar?” To this, I respond, “Fruit does contain natural sugar, but it also packs in tons of vitamins and minerals. It also contains beneficial plant chemicals that fight damage from free radicals–unstable substances in the environment and the body that can harm body cells.” But just as with all foods, it’s important to mind your portions when consuming fruit, not because there’s anything inherently harmful in it, but because overloading your body with too many calories from any source including fruit can contribute to unhealthy weight gain.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you enjoy the sweetness of fruit without going overboard:
1) Practice Mindful Indulgence. Most people can include up to 1.5 or 2 cups of fruit daily, depending on individual calorie needs. Have it divided between two meals or snacks rather than in one heaping dose, and pair it with protein- or fat-rich foods to minimize its affect on blood sugar levels (especially important of you have diabetes). To determine how much fruit is right for you, visit choosemyplate.gov. You can learn more about what counts as one cup fruit here.
2) Enjoy fruit in season. This will give you the best tasting fruit, plus it’ll save you some money. To see which fruit (and veggies) are in season, check out this handy guide from Fruit and Veggies More Matters(R). Frozen bananas and grapes also make cool, tasty treats. You can also freeze seasonal fruit to use in smoothies well into the Fall. (See smoothie links below.)
3) Drink up. If you enjoy smoothies, keep portions small to keep calories in check. Make sure you know what and how much of different ingredients are used to make store-bought smoothies. Here’s a Blueberry Blast recipe created by culinary expert Robyn Webb and featured on Shape.com, a Super Strawberry Smoothie recipe featured on Squeezeitin.com and a Go Berry Banana Smoothie created by registered dietitian Michelle Dudash for my book Younger Next Week and featured on Shape.com.
4) Mix it in. Enjoy apple or strawberry slices, banana slices or fresh berries on your cold or hot whole grain cereal or low-fat or nonfat yogurt, add sliced banana when making whole grain muffins, add sliced fruit (apples or peaches) or grapefruit slices or even dried fruit (no sugar added) to salads, and make chutneys (check out these Eating Well chutney recipes) with fruit to fill sandwiches or top chicken or fish dishes OR have fresh mixed fruit or grapefruit slices with a hint of balsamic vinegar for a dinner starter, or top a small portion of ice cream or frozen yogurt with your favorite berries.
5) Water it down. To spice up plain or seltzer water, throw in some grapefruit or orange or lemon slices, peach slices or raspberries. You can make ice cubes with 100% juices (grape, grapefruit, orange, apple) to throw in plain or seltzer water.
How do you like to eat fruit and what are your favorites?
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