By Megan Lautz
Fruit is a delicious way to add essential vitamins, potassium and fiber to your diet. And, people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of chronic disease. What is fact or fiction when it comes to fruit?
Fruit is too high in sugar – Fiction
Fruit contains natural sugars like fructose, but it does not mean that this sugar is bad! Sugar found naturally in fruit comes with health-promoting antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. It is good to note that fruit juice is more concentrated and can be easy to over-consume so best to limit servings of fruit juice to 4-6 ounces.
Fresh fruit is healthier than frozen or canned – Fiction
Fresh fruit is often scarce in the winter months and may go bad before you can use it. Frozen or canned fruit are great alternatives if you need something to last longer. Both frozen and canned are processed at peak ripeness, locking in flavor and nutrients. When buying canned, avoid added calories by choosing fruit packed in water or fruit juice.
Fresh fruit is too expensive – Fiction
Fresh fruit does not have to be expensive, especially if you shop in season. Choose your produce based off of what is on sale. Apples and bananas are often inexpensive options regardless of the season. Save money by doing your own cutting and chopping at home rather than buying pre-cut products. Fruit with angel food cake or cool whip makes a quick dessert at the station. If fruit is about to turn, consider freezing berries or bananas for use in smoothies, oatmeal or muffins.
Organic fruit is the only option – Fiction
Organic options may or may not be worth the cost. Organic fruit does have fewer chemicals than conventional varieties and may have slightly more nutrients. This does not mean conventional fruit options are not safe and healthy options. If you have extra room in your budget, organic is something to consider for produce. Beware that an “organic” label does not mean the product is healthy. Organic chips, cookies and packaged products have just as many calories as non-organic options and can deter weight loss if portions are not controlled.
How much fruit should I eat per day?
Dietary guidelines recommend 1-2 cups of fruit per day. A cup of fruit is typically the size of your fist if you do not have a measuring cup available. A serving of dried fruit is ½ cup. Dried fruit may not be the best option for weight loss as dried fruit is concentrated in calories. If you are exercising more than an hour per day at a high intensity, you may want to increase your servings of fruit to 3-4 cups to replace the carbohydrate burned during exercise.
Megan Lautz is a Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer with a Masters in Sports Nutrition. Her consulting company RescueRD LLC is designed to help firefighters perform better, recover faster, and live longer. For more from Megan, visit @Rescue.RD on Facebook or Instagram.
Photo By Dora Cavallo