When I was growing up, my daily quota of fruit consisted of applesauce sprinkled heavily with brown sugar and cinnamon. I viewed all other forms of fruit with suspicion. My reasoning was simple: my best friend had bitten into an apple with a live worm in it — and just observing that experience was enough to make me a sworn fruit hater. Applesauce was an exception, because I figured that it had gone through enough machines to be free of worms in any form!
Why To Fall in Love With Fruit
When you’re on a diet, however, incorporating fresh fruits can add another dimension to your meals. Crunch into a crispy Granny Smith; savor the sweet softness of a ripe banana; enjoy an explosion of juice as you bite into a rich-tasting naval orange.
In addition, fruits’ health benefits include fiber, which helps you feel full with a minimal number of calories. You also get good-for-you vitamins and minerals to help you stay healthy, which means your metabolism can perform at its peak.
Breakfast Fruit Options
For a fast, flavorful, and low-calorie breakfast, fill half of a canteloupe with nonfat vanilla yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.
If you have more time, make plain oatmeal (not instant – use the kind that requires cooking, as it usually has more fiber and less sodium). Top with an assortment of sliced fresh fruit in season, such as sliced pears or peaches and nectarines.
Try fat-free cream cheese spread on a low-carb tortilla, topped with sliced bananas, pears, or diced-up fresh strawberries for an innovative sandwich option.
If you’re a tuna fish lover, try draining a can of water-packed tuna, mix with a tablespoon of plain yogurt, and arrange on a bed of lettuce. Sprinkle green grapes over the top.
Get Your Just (and Fruity!) Desserts
Whether you’re a sweet lover for snack time or a dessert diva, fresh fruit can save your diet from danger!
1. Slice a banana, then open a packet of sugar-free instant diet cocoa. Sprinkle the powder on a piece of foil, then roll the banana slices in the cocoa powder. Freeze – and you have sweet, chocolatey treats that taste high-calorie – but add up to under 150 calories for the entire serving!
2. Cut up an assortment of fresh fruit, such as melon, strawberries, and a pear. Make sure to remove all seeds. Place in a blender. Add in half a cup of vanilla non-fat yogurt and a handful of ice cubes, plus a splash of vanilla extract for extra flavor. Blenderize it until smooth. Serve this concoction and you’ll find it almost impossible to believe that it’s low-calorie!
3. Peanut butter is one of those treats that fall into the tasty, healthy, and high calorie category. For those of us who can never stop at just one tablespoon, fruit can offer a great way to take that tiny amount and make it seem like much more! The secret’s in the sauce…the fruit sauce, that is. Place two tablespoons of peanut butter in a blender with one-fourth cup of plain, no-sugar-added applesauce. Add a dash of cinnamon. Blenderize until smooth. Spread this peanut butter concoction on sliced celery for a low-calorie, flavorful and filling before-bed snack.
Tip: It’s worth the money to invest in a good quality blender for these treats. I’ve tried several of the under-$25 blender variety, and they tend to omit parts of the mixture, leaving you with a clean-up mess! I currently use a Cuisinart brand blender, purchased at Kohls, that I feel was well worth the price.