Fill Your Plate With Fruit This Summer

Nothing tastes better in the summer than biting into a big juicy piece of watermelon or a ripe red strawberry. With all the delicious fruit that summer offers, it is easier than ever to eat the 1 ½ - 2 cups that are recommended each day.  Fruits are naturally low in fat and calories and are packed with many important nutrients such as potassium, fiber and vitamin C.  Eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in fruit may also reduce our risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.  To make sure you and your family take full advantage of the many fruits that are at their peak this summer, try these tips:

1)      Fun with fruit- To make a fun and healthy snack for kids, try making fruit and cheese kabobs by alternating bite sized pieces of their favorite fruit with cheese cubes onto a wooden skewer.

2)      Try something new- In addition to traditional summer favorites such as watermelon and strawberries, try adding a new fruit to your shopping cart each week for your family to try such as nectarines, mango or blackberries. Each fruit offers a unique nutrient package so it is important to include a variety in your diet.

3)      Grill it up- Give your next barbeque a nutritional boost by making room for some fruit on the grill. Fruits that work great include pineapple, peaches, bananas or mango. Just brush with a little oil to prevent them from sticking and grill for a few minutes on each side.

4)      Fruit bowl- Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter or table in the kitchen to make it easy to grab a piece for a quick snack.

5)      Add berries to your breakfast- Dress up your morning bowl of cereal or oatmeal by adding some fresh blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.

6)      Freeze your fruit- For a refreshing summer snack, try popping grapes or blueberries into the freezer and enjoy them frozen.

7)      Groovy smoothies- Fruit smoothies make a delicious and refreshing breakfast, snack or dessert. Just blend together your favorite fresh or frozen fruit with some low-fat milk or yogurt.

8)      Add some color to your plate- To add extra color and flavor to some of your favorite dishes try adding fruit. For example prepare a fruit salsa to serve with grilled fish, pork or chicken or try slicing up some fruit into your favorite salad.

For a delicious summer salad that includes fresh strawberries, try this Summer Spinach Strawberry and Feta Salad. 

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