I love fruit and eat plenty of it, but most people do not eat enough fruit to satisfy the recommendation to eat a minimum of 2 servings a day. That's too bad because fruit is an important part of a balanced diet, right along with its side-kick, vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are routinely grouped together in government issued food plans, pyramids and plates, yet some people think vegetables have higher status. Maybe it's because they have a permanent place on dinner menus, while fruit is relegated to snacks and dessert? Whatever the reason, fruit deserves to be counted on its own merits.
Fruit contains essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber that are not available in plentiful amounts in other foods. The nutrients in fruit help protect us against cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and many other chronic diseases.
Taste is high on the list of reasons why people don't eat all of the vegetables they should, but that's no excuse for not eating enough fruit. It can be sweet or sour, juicy or dry, soft or firm, chewy or crisp - something to please any palate. And you can eat it fresh, frozen, cooked, juiced or dried.
One of the easiest ways to make sure teens and adults eat enough fruit is to get them started young. Summer is the perfect time to introduce your little ones to the abundant variety of fruit that is in season and ready for sampling. You can include fun lessons on colors, shapes, and sizes, too, as you shop for an assortment of berries, melons and more.
10 Fun Ways to Eat Enough Fruit This Summer
- Melon Bowl Soup Most children don't like their soup too hot, so make a cold fruit soup and ladle it into carved out half-cantaloupe as a bowl.
- Rainbow Pizza Spread cream cheese on toasted English muffins or whole wheat pita bread and top with colorful sliced plums, apricots, and kiwi.
- Honey-Grilled Fruit Place pitted and halved peaches and nectarines and sliced pineapple on the barbecue grill for a sizzling fruit platter you can top with a drizzle of honey.
- Tropical Dip Cut chunks of banana, mango, and papaya for dipping into lemon yogurt then sprinkling with toasted coconut or crushed cereal.
- Green Slushies Puree kiwi, green grapes and honeydew melon together, freeze in ice cube trays, then process again in blender until a slushy consistency.
- Fruit Dunkers Easier than fondue, just dunk fruit chunks into caramel or chocolate sauce thinned with hot water or use maple syrup, honey, or whipped topping.
- Asian Fruit Salad Combine mandarin orange segments, boysenberries, and cubed Asian pears, top with Chinese noodles, and let everyone eat it with chop sticks.
- Crazy Quesadillas Spread shredded mozzarella cheese over a one half of a flour tortilla, top with sliced strawberries, then fold other half over and heat until the cheese has melted.
- Parfait Cones Layer yogurt and berries in an ice cream cone for a portable snack filled with summer's best.
- Melon Stick Cube watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and/or Crenshaw and thread onto popsicle sticks.
What's your favorite fruit of the season?