Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who Said You Can’t Compare Apples and Oranges?

Ask any dietitian, or any person for that matter, and they will tell you that fruit is healthy. Fruit is a good food to eat on a diet, right? Recommendations say eat 5 a day, is it zero calories? And are all fruits made the same? Not exactly, but…

Why have you done a good thing?

Fruits are one of the main food groups in our diet, necessary for so many of our body’s functions. They are low calorie, full of fiber, fat-free…and sweetly delicious! Fruits are filled with vitamins and minerals, often including powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, and potassium. Large-scales studies have seen associations between high fruit and vegetable intake and decreased risk of many diseases such as cancer and heart disease. And although most people know they are great for you, not everyone knows exactly how they compare…take a look!

Apple (medium size)

  • 95 Kcal
  • 4.4g fiber
  • Good For: On-the-go snacking

Orange (medium size)

  • 62 Kcal
  • 3.1g fiber
  • Good for: snacking at your desk (start the peel with a knife)

Banana (medium size)

  • 105 Kcal
  • 3.1g fiber
  • Good for: breakfast on-the-go (good addition to a b-fast bar!)

Grapes (1 cup)

  • 104 Kcal
  • 1.4g fiber
  • Good For: Pre-portioned sweet snacking (10 in a zip-top bag and you're good to go)

Blueberries (1 cup)

  • 83 Kcal
  • 3.5g fiber

Strawberries (1 cup, halves)

  • 49 Kcal
  • 3g fiber

Raspberries (1 cup)

  • 64 Kcal
  • 8g fiber

All Berries Good For: putting in cereal (hot or cold), adding to Greek yogurt, eating solo, making a home-made jam sans-sugar, mixing with Cool Whip as a fat-free and low-cal dessert, etc, etc…the options for these anti-oxidant & fiber-filled bite size goodies are endless.

How much to have?

Aim for 3-5 servings per day, but remember, 1 medium (likely closer to large) size fruit is often 2 servings- think the size of a baseball as 1 serving. 1/2 cup chopped or canned fruit is also 1 serving.

One more thing, the brighter the better. The deeper the color, the more nutrients the fruit likely contains, and go for the rainbow! Each different color fruit represents different vitamins and minerals, so a wide variety of fruity colors can assure you are getting the nutrition you need!

While this list of fruits can go on and on…I think you get the main point: although each fruit may shine for a different reason (be it low-cal, fiber content, convenience, or pure taste) all fruits rock, especially as part of a healthy diet!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

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