5 Surprising Ways to Work Fruit into Your Diet
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends about 2 cups a day, which means you can eat four small bananas...or try some of these easy tweaks to the foods you already eat.
Give Boring Chicken Breast a Makeover (and Show Off a Cool Skill)
Grilled chicken breast or fish topped with a zippy salad made from orange segments is a tasty and good-for-you lunch or dinner, plus it's a fast way to perk up two potentially dull proteins. While the meat or seafood is cooking, cut off a small piece of an orange's peel at the top and bottom so you have a stable cutting surface. Starting at the top, slice downward, following the curve of the fruit and cutting away the skin. Once you've removed the peel, carefully slide the knife between one of the segments and its connective membrane until you reach the middle of the fruit. Use a scooping motion to turn the knife and maneuver it under the bottom edge of the segment to loosen it from the other side. You'll be left with a perfect wedge. Repeat with the remaining segments; then toss them with thinly sliced red onion and a splash of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mound the salad on top of cooked chicken or fish, and serve.
Photo: Crispy Green, Inc.
Add Crunch (Not Tons of Calories) to Salads and Desserts
Freeze-dried fruit seems like some sort of bizarre space-age snack, and while the process isn't something most of us would try at home (it involves freezing, slowly extracting the water content with a vacuum and then heating), the end result is a great alternative to fresh fruit. The process leaves the fruit crispy (unlike dehydrated—aka dried—fruit, which is chewy), and it's delicious in salads or on top of frozen yogurt. Crispy Green's Crispy Fruit
, a line of snacks sold in Earth Fare, Harris Teeter, Martin's Food Markets, ShopRite and some Whole Foods locations, just released a new flavor, tangerine; a 40-calorie packet equals one serving of fruit.
Tap Into the Ice Pop Craze with No-Frills Ingredients
Hibiscus-pomegranate and papaya agua fresca ice pops may be all the rage
, but plain old strawberry-yogurt pops are just as tasty, are a snap to make and deliver about 1/4 cup fruit per serving. In a food processor or blender, whiz berries; plain, strawberry, vanilla or blueberry Greek yogurt; lemon juice; and honey until smooth. (For ratios, see this recipe
.) Pour the mixture into molds and freeze.
Turn Grapefruit into a Heavenly Treat
Although you can broil halves of peaches and apricots with good results, the technique is even better with grapefruit, since the heat mellows the fruit's puckery quality just enough. It's also one of the quickest desserts (or hot breakfasts, if that's your thing) you can make. Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Place grapefruit halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of brown sugar. Cook four to eight minutes until the sugar is melted and bubbling. Eat warm, topped with a dollop of plain yogurt.
Amp Up Your Sandwiches
Aside from a meatloaf sub, we can't think of too many other bread-and-filling combos that wouldn't benefit from a few slices of fresh fruit tucked inside. Peanut butter and jelly is a fine breakfast but is even better with pieces of banana or pear (or try almond butter, which we love with blackberries). Turkey and Swiss take to tart apples like Granny Smiths, and tangy goat cheese goes well with strawberries. Another idea: Stir diced mango or halved grapes into chicken or tuna salad.
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