Of course, there are lots of reasons for eating more fruit. However, to keep it simple, here are 6 reasons you need more fruit in your diet.
- All fruits are high in potassium which is an important mineral for fluid balance in your body. All fruits are good sources of potassium including cantaloupe, watermelon, pears, bananas, grapes, peaches, lemons, oranges, and pineapple.
- Most fruits are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for wound healing and for preventing colds and other infectious illnesses. Vitamin C is good for the immune system. Fruits especially high in vitamin c are melons, including cantaloupe and watermelon, mango and papaya, all citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), and pineapple.
- Whole Fruit is a good source of fiber. Since most kids will eat fruit, this is an easy way to increase fiber intake and help to prevent digestion issues such as constipation. Fruits highest in fiber include unpeeled pears, apples, figs, dates, apricots, raisins, and plums/prunes.
- Fruit is an excellent way to add water/fluid to your diet without having to actually drink water. It can be difficult to get kids to drink enough water, especially in the winter. Eating whole fruits will help to prevent dehydration. Fruits especially high in fluids are melons and grapes.
- Because fruit is sweet, it can help curb a sweet tooth. Thus, you are less likely to give in to the less healthy sweets such as cookies and candy. If you’re having a sweet tooth, pretty much any fruit will help you satisfy that craving.
- Fruit is an excellent source of folate. Folate is important for healthy blood and a healthy baby. Strawberries, oranges, papaya, bananas and grapefruit are excellent sources of folate.
I have personally discovered that it can be really difficult to get the recommended 3500 mg of potassium every day.
As some of you already know, I’ve been keeping track of my calorie (and nutrient) intake on and off for years. One of the things I have more recently discovered while doing this is that I hardly ever hit the 3500 mg goal. This is true even on days when I’ve eaten cantaloupe, bananas, grapes, and oranges.
So, what do I do to make sure I’m eating fruits every day? I find it helpful to wash fruit and put it into a bowl as soon as I get it home from the grocery store. This makes it much more likely that I will eat the fruit instead of some less healthy alternative.
I’ve also worked to reduce the amount of “other less healthy alternatives” available in the house. Since, I don’t live alone, I find that putting the fruits on the counter in the kitchen, on the dinner table, or in front in the refrigerator (and hiding the other stuff!) also encourages more fruit eating for everyone.
Here is a list of other ideas to help encourage more WHOLE fruit intake (as opposed to juice)
- Remember that when fresh fruits are in season, not only are they less expensive, but they usually taste better. So, this is a good time to try something new
- It’s okay to purchase fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, especially since fresh may not be available.
- Whole fruit is higher in fiber and contains nutrients that are stripped during the juicing process. So, although some juice is okay, whole fruit is much better for you.
- At breakfast, add your favorite fruits such as bananas, peaches, strawberries and blueberries to cereal, pancakes or waffles.
- Try to always drink 100% juice. if it doesn’t say, “100% Juice” on the label, It isn’t.
- Add fruit to your yogurt, and remember that favorite fruits make great snacks.
- Add your favorite fruit to lunch boxes. If you don’t have time or don’t enjoy cutting fruit, use individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce are easy to carry and convenient for lunch.
- At dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw or include orange sections, dried cranberries, or grapes in a tossed salad. Try fruit salsa on top of fish.
- During the summer, have a canning party to preserve favorite fruits that aren’t available during the colder months. For example, we have jarred peaches that we canned in the summer. They are delicious!
- Make fruit breads and fruit pies using fresh fruit, for example we just made “Gluten-Free Blueberry Banana Bread.” We used 3 bananas and 1 cup blueberries in the recipe, and it was delicious!
Stay tuned for more!