Mitzi Dulan: 5 Creative Ways to Add Fruit to Your Diet

| by Mitzi Dulan

Fresh fruits are yummy AND healthy! The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we should consume 4 servings of fruits per day. 1 serving of fruit is about ½ cup. The equivalent amount to a ½ cup serving is ½ cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1 medium fruit (apple, orange, etc), ¼ cup dried fruit, or ½ cup fruit juice.

Besides enjoying eating and drinking fruits as they come, we can transform and incorporate them into decadent creations! Side dishes, appetizers, drinks, desserts, etc. They’re oh, so colorful, too!

1. Berry Good Smoothie: In a blender, combine 1 pitted nectarine, ¾ cup hulled strawberries, ¾ cup blueberries, 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder, and 1 cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth, pour into glass and serve!

2. Romaine and Fresh Strawberry Salad: Combine 2 cups romaine lettuce and 1/2 cup sliced strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette dressing and toss well. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cashews.

3. Cinnamon Rice with Apples: Combine ¾ cup uncooked white rice, 1.5 cup apple juice, 1 chopped and core apple, and 1/3 cup raisins. Season with cinnamon. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover for about 17 minutes. Lift lid, and see if rice is moist enough for your taste; if not, cook another couple minutes. Mix in fresh parsley. Serve immediately. You can pair the rice with a white meat main dish – complements each other really well!

4. Watermelon Fire and Ice Salsa: Combine in a large bowl 3 cups chopped watermelon, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 tbsp chopped green onions, 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno pepper and ½ tsp garlic salt. Mix well and serve. The juicy watermelon replaces tomatoes in this salsa that’s simultaneously cool and spicy hot! Serve it with tortilla chips or use it as a topping for grilled chicken. Yum!!

5. Berries a la mode: Place 2 cup berries, such as raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, in a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup low-fat granola. Bake at 350 F until fruit is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Top each serving with 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Do you have other yummy ways of incorporating fresh fruits into delicious creations?

Assistance provided by Rachel Yam