Winter is such a hard time on my fruit intake. I usually limit myself to apples, oranges, grapefruit and the occasional canned pineapple. Perhaps it’s my own fault, not being adventurous enough during the winter months, but I really blame it on the lack of good seasonal fruit. I’ve tried buying a pineapple or cantaloupe in January, but it just doesn’t work. It’s always bitter, never sweet and usually ends up sitting in my fridge – uneaten. I will admit I do not get my 2 cups of fruit a day during the winter months, but I more than make up for in during the summer, and I am so glad summer is coming!
In this National Nutrition Month Series I am still talking about food groups and following the MyPyramid. Last week was veggies, a notorious problem spot for eaters young and old. Fruit is usually a much more widely accepted and appreciated produce selection. The natural sweetness of fruit lends well to childrens’ selective palates and that’s a good thing because fruit is so good for you! The vitamins and minerals in fruit fight cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure; they keep skin and eyes bright and hair shiny. Fruit are very diverse, there are so many to choose from, and each one provides just a little different nutrition.
In general, fruit has about 80 calories per cup and is fat free. Fruit also contains antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are amazing disease fighting compounds. And we can’t forget the vitamins and minerals fruit give us to keep our blood, eyes, skin and tissues healthy and functioning normally. Everyone should aim for at least 2 cups of fruit everyday, only 1 of which can be fruit juice (and always 100% please). Start with 1/2 a cup at breakfast (sliced bananas), 1/2 a cup at lunch (100% OJ), 1/2 a cup after school or work (grapes) and 1/2 a cup for dessert (mixed berries with whipped cream) and you’re done!
So, winter is gone! Spring is here and summer is coming!!! Get out there and get your fruit.
Blueberries, apples, grapefruit, lemons, starfruit, cantaloupe, plums, kiwi, apricots, blackberries, grapes, oranges, kumquats, peaches, clementines, tangelos, mango, strawberries, papaya, guava, banana, honeydew, watermelon….need I say more?