Fruit can be a great and healthy way to sweeten up your meals this summer. Berries, melons, peaches and cherries are just coming into their best time of the year for price and flavor.
Fruits make for a refreshing and lower-calorie treat during the warmer months. Berries weigh in at only 25 to 45 calories per half-cup serving, and they contain fiber. Blackberries are a good source of dietary fiber, containing up to 3.8 grams of fiber per serving. Berries also contain vitamin C. Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are also recommended sources for antioxidants. Compounds in strawberries have also shown anticancer activity in experimental systems, blocking the development of cancer and suppressing the progression of tumors.
Melons can be a great addition to any summertime meal or gathering as well. Cantaloupe is a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium, and watermelon contains vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene also acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting your skin from the sun’s rays, but still allowing enough sunlight through for your body to produce Vitamin D. Don’t just stick with the most-often-eaten melons though. It’s a great time of year to try a variety of melons, adding a sweet and juicy angle to any meal or snack.
Try some of these great ideas for adding berries and melon to your day:
• Add berries to salads.
• Add berries or melons to fruit salsas and use to top fish, chicken or lean beef.
• Explore fruit vinaigrette dressing recipes.
• Make melon and grape kabobs.
• Cut melon in slices, then cut out fun shapes with cookie cutters.
• Add diced melon to salads and top with a light poppy seed dressing.
• Make smoothies with a variety of fresh fruit.
Pineapple Yogurt Dip
Try out this great fruit dip recipe on melon kabobs.
All you need:
• 1 (8 oz.) tub soft fat-free cream cheese
• 1 cup plain or vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
• 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, drained
• 3 tablespoons honey
All you do:
Combine all ingredients together and beat until light and fluffy. Serve with fresh fruit.
Nutrition information per ¼-cup serving: 94 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 206 mg sodium, 17 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, 16 grams sugar, 6 grams protein.
Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location. The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at email@example.com.