Fruit is a perfect addition to your morning oatmeal or a quick afternoon snack. But it’s also an amazing way to jazz up other healthy ingredients to create some out-of-the-box options that will leave you feeling satisfied, energized and maybe even inspired! Here are four of my favorite ways to fit in the recommended two daily servings:
Add it to Your Burger Mix
Whether you’re whipping up ground turkey or black bean burgers folding in minced or shredded fruit is a great way to add moisture, flavor, color, texture and nutrition. Try minced cherries, mashed blueberries and shredded apples or pears. Serve open-faced on half of a whole grain English muffin topped with sliced avocado as a protein-packed snack.
Toss it on the Grill
I use my grill for absolutely everything I can think of – I’ve fired it up for pizza, quesadillas, nachos and AB&Bs (almond butter and banana sandwiches). But one of my favorite uses is for grilling in-season fruit. Right now I’m keeping it busy with sliced peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots. I typically slice the fruit and cook it in foil with a variety of seasonings, from freshly grated ginger to cinnamon, basil and rosemary (rosemary with peaches and basil with plums are awesome sweet and savory combos!). After grilling, sprinkle with toasted oats and sliced nuts and serve with an ice cold glass of skim or soy milk.
Whip it Into ‘Frosting’
Using a food processor you can puree soft, ripe fruits, like dates, peaches, pears, plums, mango, kiwi, papaya, figs, or a strawberry and banana combo, and use as a ‘frosting’ on mini cupcakes or brownie bites. If you’re feeling fancy, use the frostin as an accompaniment to a small wedge of spreadable cheese along with a serving of whole grain crackers and Mediterranean olives.
Make Fruit Tacos
The Strawberry Avocado Taco recipe in my newest book is one of my favorites from the 100 meals I created for the plan. I just love the layers of flavors, aromas and textures created by filling soft, warm corn tortillas with juicy sliced strawberries, shelled edamame, ripe avocado, fresh oregano and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar – yum! I love fruit tacos so much I included two others in the book, and I’m always testing out new pairings – my latest includes grilled apricots sprinkled with sliced almonds!
Fitting in just one more serving of fruit each day can slash your cancer risk by six percent and research shows that regular fruit eaters weigh less - even more so than veggie eaters! If you're up for an adventure, visit a 'Pick Your Own' Farm (click here to find one near you) - you'll fit in some fun physical activity while "shopping" for some delicious in-season fruit. And meeting the people who grow it are one of the best resources for learning about delicious new ways to enjoy it!
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.