Fruits can be useful when trying to lose weight successfully because they can be low in calories, provide much needed fiber to prevent hunger, and most importantly they taste great! Many Americans need more fruit in their meal plans, but this can be hard to do considering all the high fat, high sugar options that are readily available.
Tips on getting more fruit in each day include:
- Keeping fruit readily available: a bowl on the counter, in the refrigerator or table
- Visiting the local farmer's market for the freshest options
- Having 3 options: fresh, frozen, or canned (in water or it's own juice) so that if you run out of fresh you have a back up plan already in place.
For the best nutritional value be sure to include a variety of fruits each day. Each fruit has a different nutrient composition. Also, avoid as much as possible the juice form. For example, enjoy a whole apple versus apple juice. The juice form often contains more sugar and less fiber which will not help with satisfying your hunger. Increase the nutritional value and lower the calories of baked goods by substituting the fat with applesauce.
At lunch, packing an apple, orange, or other whole fruit is easy to increase your fruit intake because of the portability aspect. Adding pineapple or peach slices to kabobs at dinner will add flavor and nutrition and for dessert include a fruit parfait, fruit salad, or baked pears/apples.
Snacks that include fruit can be easy to plan and pack for the day. Examples include dried fruit, fruit cups, an apple with peanut butter to-go packages, or 100% frozen juice bars. Using a low calorie fruit dip can make fruit more appealing. For example, whip a low-fat cream cheese spread with Splenda and dip strawberries, pineapple and melon. Low-fat yogurt and low-fat pudding would work great too!
Using some or all of these tips and tools will help you to increase your fruit consumption with out causing too much stress. After all, being stressed out doesn't help with weight loss!