Most New Year’s resolutions don’t go beyond January and I am already struggling with one of mine: eat more fruit. Hardly any of us eat enough fruit. Even those of us who are trying to eat healthy and/or lose weight. I even noticed the other day that Jersey Shore’s Jwoww’s typical daily diet (as a result of which she has lost 20 lbs) included one solitary banana. That’s not close to the minimum two cups a day that dietitians recommend (we are really supposed to eat 8 cups of fruit and veggies a day). So I’ve been trying to find tactics that will make my goal of eating more fruit attainable.
Fruit at breakfast time works well for me. I manage a cup of fruit (berries or grapefruit) usually granola and non-fat yogurt. Recently I started to add in a small handful of dried cranberries. The problem is that this is usually it. So could I do more with the dried fruit?
I am trying out dried apricots as a mid morning or mid afternoon snack and a couple each time is enough to double my prior daily fruit intake. The good news, as I discovered recently, is that freeze dried fruit retain most of their antioxidants and other nutrients. And a scoop of fruit powder high in superfoods in your glass of water is really helpful.
An idea I got from the USDA’s My Pyramid website
is to add fruit to entrees and side dishes. For example: adding crushed pineapple to coleslaw, or mandarin oranges or grapes to a salad, as well as making a Waldorf salad, with apples, celery, walnuts, and dressing.
I like the idea of taking it a step further to create meat dishes that incorporate fruit, such as chicken with apricots or mango chutney, or put pineapple or peaches to grill with kabobs. I’ve also been known add pomegranate juice to a meat stew (its slightly tangy and gives some depth in terms of color and taste). And, of course, there’s always fruit pie.
The USDA advises selecting fruits that are high in potassium, such as bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice. Talking of juice, generally it is regarded as a bit of a cheat as you are depriving yourself of fiber.
The other problem I have with the USDA guidelines is that it is kind of hard to translate what is meant by “cup” of fruit, so I found a list of real word equivalents:
1 small apple
1 large banana
2 medium cantaloupe wedges
1 medium grapefruit
1 large orange
1 large peach
1 medium pear
2 large or 3 small plums
8 large strawberries
1 small watermelon wedge
2 small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit