(MayoClinic.com) Nature offers many sweet choices for eating well: juicy red cherries, plump purple plums and luscious tangerines — just to name a few. In fact, all fruits fit into a colorful and healthy diet. The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid suggests at least three servings a day.
You can enjoy fresh fruits as they come: whole or perhaps sliced. But with minimal work, you can transform fresh fruit into lively snacks, side dishes, desserts and meals. Here are 10 ways to reinvent and rediscover these sweet options.
- Grilled fruit slices. Cut apples, pears or peaches into chunks, brush lightly with canola oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place on skewers or wrap in foil. Grill on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Peach honey spread. In a bowl, add 1 sliced peach, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mash with a fork until the mixture is the consistency of chunky applesauce. Serve as a topping for pancakes or French toast, or serve it over roast chicken or pork.
- Lemon-lime fruit dip. Mix together 1/2 cup low-fat, sugar-free lemon yogurt, 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice and 1 teaspoon lime zest. Serve with pineapple chunks, strawberries, diced kiwi, sliced bananas and grapes.
- Frozen fruity pops. In a blender, add sliced strawberries and bananas, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 3/4 cup low-fat strawberry yogurt. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2- to 3-ounce molds or paper cups with sticks placed in the centers. Freeze for 3 hours or until completely frozen.
- Romaine and fresh strawberry salad. Combine 2 cups romaine lettuce and 1/2 cup sliced strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette dressing and toss well. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cashews.
- Blueberry-banana smoothie. In a blender, add 2 fresh or frozen bananas, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, and 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt. Blend until smooth.
- Plum salsa. Mix together 1 cup chopped plum, 1 teaspoon dried cilantro, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Serve with roasted or grilled chicken breasts.
- Broiled fruit kebabs. Thread cubed fruit, such as cantaloupe, pineapple, mango or honeydew, onto skewers. Place skewers on a baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil until slightly bubbly, about 2 minutes on each side.
- Berries a la mode. Place 2 cup berries, such as raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, in a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup low-fat granola. Bake at 350 F until fruit is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Top each serving with 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla ice cream.
- Mango salsa pizza. Mix together 1 cup chopped red or green bell peppers, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped mango, 1/2 cup chopped pineapple, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/2 cup fresh cilantro. Spread over a 12-inch prepared pizza crust. Bake at 425 F until the toppings are hot and the crust is browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.
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