Written by Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE
One of my favorite things about summer – and there are many things to love about this time of year in Hampton Roads – is the abundance of fresh fruit available in the supermarkets and farmers markets. Even though it’s scorching hot outside, you can stay cool and hydrated with juicy, delicious, nutritious summer fruits.
Fruits are among your best sources of potassium and are naturally low in sodium, a blood pressure-friendly combination. Each type fruit contains a different array of health-boosting nutrients and phytochemicals – compounds in plants that work together in the body to protect us from cancer, age related eye disease, heart disease and more. Their fiber helps keep us regular and shields us from colon cancer. Plus, the combination of their fiber and water make fruit a filling snack or addition to a meal.
So many of my patients tell me that they like fruit but don’t eat enough of it because they forget to buy it or forget that they have it before it spoils. This summer, be creative to meet a daily quota of about 2 cups of fruit. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Enjoy frozen fruits straight from the freezer for a cooling treat.
- Portion out individual servings of grapes or cherries into small plastic bags to make grabbing a nourishing treat as easy as grabbing a bag of chips.
- Slice nectarines, bananas, strawberries or other fresh fruit onto cereal.
- Add slivered grapes to chicken salad.
- Skewer up fresh berries, grapes and peach slices for a fun dessert.
- Grill pineapple, bananas, peaches and nectarines for dessert. For an extra special treat, serve with a small scoop of ice cream.
- Grate dark chocolate over a bowl of berries or dip strawberries into chocolate.
- Cool off with a cold strawberry soup or watermelon juice with lime.
- Top grilled and baked fish and chicken with salsas made of cherries, mangoes or peaches.
Do you have a fun, favorite way to eat fruit?