Saturday, March 5, 2011

A tropical fruit vacation from citrus…

In the winter time, fruit choices can get monotonous. Although citrus of all varieties is delicious, sometimes you long for a juicy berry or sweet melon. Luckily, there is a tropical solution to this: kiwis!

Why have you done a good thing?

A delectable cross between strawberries and honeydew melon, kiwis are a perfectly portioned 90 calorie snack. Like our favorite winter citrus, oranges, kiwis are packed full of vitamin C, a great anti-oxidant to help fight off colds and flues. Research has shown that vitamin C can reduce the severity of conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma as well as prevent conditions such as colon cancer. Kiwis are also a fantastic source of the antioxidant vitamin E, making kiwis super fruits full of antioxidant protection! Kiwis are also a great food for prevention of heart disease, shown to reduce triglyceride levels, with natural blood thinners including omega-3s in their seeds. Kiwis are also perfect for kids (or some of you adults) who don’t like green veggies to get some green color into your diet.

How can I eat kiwis?

I personally love to cut kiwis in half and dig in with a spoon. But you can also incorporate this super fruit into your dishes. Check out this recipe:

Pineapple Kiwi Branzino (serves 2)

1 cup diced pineapple (fresh or canned in water)
2 kiwis, diced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or parsley if you hate cilantro)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 branzino fish filets

In a medium bowl, combine kiwi, pineapple, cilantro or parsley, lime juice and jalapeno pepper if using and toss to combine. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and sear fish for a couple of minutes on each side. Top with pineapple kiwi salsa and enjoy! Serve along side some brown rice, quinoa, or other whole grain for a complete dinner!

Don’t like fish? Try this salsa with chicken, pork, or even on top of eggs!

Other ideas?
-Add kiwis to a tropical fruit salad with citrus
-Toss with your grains and some nuts
-Top your salads with kiwi (especially spinach salads!)
-Mix kiwis into your Greek or plain yogurts

Tips for selecting kiwis:

Kiwis are like bananas; they need to ripen before you eat them. They should be slightly soft to the touch when they are ripe. Try putting kiwis in a paper bag with a banana to speed up ripening when you get home from the store.

--Amy Santo, MS RD

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