Fruits are an important part of a balanced diet because they contain many different vitamins, minerals, and other substances that help your body perform at an optimal level. For example, bananas are high in potassium, a mineral that plays a role in keeping your heart healthy, and strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which helps your body heal faster when injured. Eating more healthy fruit doesn’t require much effort; it can be as simple as grabbing an apple on your way your way out the door in the morning, or swapping out your regular dessert with a fruit-based one.
Keeping healthy fruit available in your kitchen is the first step to adding more to your diet. Make fruits a priority on your shopping list and stock up on a variety of different types. Fruits that do not require refrigeration can be stored in a bowl on your counter so you see them when you walk into the kitchen. Fruits in the refrigerator should be in the front, along with other healthy foods, such as vegetables and low-fat yogurt. By making healthy fruit the first food you see, you may be more likely to choose that option over less healthy snacks.
One easy way to add healthy fruit to your diet is to pair it with your breakfast food. Add some blueberries to your pancake mix, bananas to your whole-grain cereal, or strawberries to your granola. If you have the extra time, add all three to some skim milk in a blender and make a fruit smoothie. Juice also counts as a healthy fruit serving, as long as it is 100% fruit juice with no added sugar.
A healthy mid-morning snack can help you keep your energy levels up and prevent sugar crashes that lead to tiredness or crankiness. Avoid the temptation to grab a quick unhealthy snack from a vending machine by keeping healthy fruit available. Stash a box of raisins or a bag of dried fruit in your desk, work bag, or purse for a healthy mid-morning snack.
After dinner, skip the high-sugar, high-fat dessert and opt for a healthy fruit dessert instead. Try a parfait made with low-fat yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, and a sprinkling of granola mixed in. Top some baked peaches with a small scoop of fat-free vanilla ice cream. Fruit salad is a good dessert choice because you can customize it to your personal taste. Just add a little of each of your preferred fruits to a bowl, toss them to mix, and enjoy.
The amount of fruit you need each day depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Certain medical conditions can also affect the amount of fruit you should eat. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you determine the optimum amount of servings for you needs.