Fruit is fantastic! Most fruits are naturally low in calories, fat and sodium. Fruits are good sources of many essential nutrients including dietary fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, and folate (folic acid). Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
How Much Fruit Should I Eat Each Day?
The MyPlate Daily Checklist provides a personalized food plan; this includes the amounts you need from each food group. In general, adults need 2 cup equivalents of fruit each day. School-age children need 1-1/2 cups, and teens need 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups. 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, 1 cup of 100% fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit can be considered equivalent to 1 cup from the fruit group. Limit juice to 1 cup per day.
Cut-up or whole fruits are sources of dietary fiber which provide a feeling of fullness, with fewer calories. Focus on whole fruits – fresh, canned, frozen, or dried – instead of juice. Fruit juices provide little or no fiber. The sugar naturally found in fruit does not count as added sugar.
Best Nutritional Value
Vary your fruit choices, fruits differ in nutrient content. When choosing canned fruits, select fruit canned in 100% fruit juice or water, instead of syrup. Purchase fresh fruit in season, and frozen or canned fruit when it’s not, to stretch food dollars. Frozen fruits come in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties; check the label and choose unsweetened fruit.
Tips to Help You Eat Fruits
- Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table or cut up in the refrigerator.
- Fruit is a great traveling snack. Tuck an apple, grapes, cherries, tangerine, or dried fruits into your tote, lunch bag, or briefcase.
- Use pureed fruit such as applesauce, dried plums (prunes), bananas or peaches in place of half the fat in recipes for homemade breads, pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods.
- Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or juice), as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
- For dessert, try baked apples, pears, or a fresh fruit salad.
- Top off a bowl of hot or cold cereal with berries, peaches or a banana.
- Pack lunches with individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce.
- Jazz up salads, pancakes, and bread recipes with dried fruit.
- Mix your favorite fruit into low-fat yogurt.
- Add orange sections or grapes to a tossed salad.
- Frozen juice bars (100% juice) make healthy alternatives to high-fat snacks.
- Use fruits to sweeten a recipe instead of adding sugar.
- Try fruit salsa on top of fish.
Try the following fruit recipes. They are easy to serve anytime.
It’s a Snap Fruit Salad
Courtesy of University of Missouri Extension
- 2 apples, cut into chunks
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained
- 1/2 cup grapes
- Wash hands and surfaces.
- In a bowl, place fruit and add a little pineapple juice to keep fruit from turning brown. Stir well.
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately.
- Substitute fresh fruit in season or other canned fruit (peaches, pears, apricots, mandarin oranges, etc.)
- Cut grapes into smaller pieces (no larger than 1/2-inch) for children under 4 years to prevent choking.
- Add this fruit salad to your breakfast to fuel your day.
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 90, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 23g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 0mg. Serves 6.
Courtesy of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup berries, frozen
- 1 container (6 ounces) nonfat strawberry yogurt
- Blend all ingredients well in blender.
- Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!
- Be sure to wash your hands and fresh fruit before preparing.
- Freeze your smoothies in plastic cups and take them in your cooler for picnics or trips.
- Use one cup of frozen or other fresh fruit instead of bananas and berries.
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 250, Fat: .5g, Carbohydrates: 55g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Protein: 9g, Sodium: 110mg. Serves 1.
For additional information, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Get Fruits and Veggies to the Plate article. Are you looking for a healthy dessert option? See North Dakota State University Extension’s Fruit Pizza recipe.
- PennState Extension. Creating Health & Nutrition. Fantastic Fruits. 2016.
- United States Department of Agriculture. MyPlate. All about the Fruit Group.