Trade Up Your Snacks
Trade up your traditional snack for some fruit! Fruit can be enjoyed in a variety of ways – fresh, dried, frozen, and cooked, but why is it so important to consume it everyday? Fruits are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants and flavonoids, all nutrients important for health and wellness. Other benefits of fruit include reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and inflammation in the body.
Fresh vs Dried
Dried fruit has been around for thousands of years as a way to preserve fruit and make it last longer. By drying a fruit the nutrients are locked in, and in some cases, increased when compared to fresh fruit. One major difference between dried and fresh fruit is the sugar content. For example, 100 grams of a fresh mango, has around 14 grams of sugar whereas the same amount of dried mango contains about 66 grams of sugar, nearly 5 times more sugar. For this reason, a recommended serving size of dried fruit is much smaller than fresh fruit. The recommended serving size of dried fruit is 30 grams, or about 1 tablespoon, whereas the serving size for fresh fruit is 100-170 grams, or about 1 cup. Even though the serving size for dried fruit is smaller than for fresh, dried fruit is packed with nutrients. For example, 100 grams of fresh mango provides 9% of the daily value for vitamin B6 whereas the same amount of dried mango provides 26% of the daily value. Both fresh and dried fruits have many benefits to consider when choosing which method to enjoy. One pro tip here is to be sure if you are enjoying the dried version to make sure there is no additional sugar added by turning the package around and reading the ingredients list.
How to use fruit
Fruit can be served alone, or in combination with other foods. Dried fruits are great for salads, trail mix, oatmeal, snack bars, sauces and baked goods. They add a nice hint of sweetness without adding artificial sweeteners. Fresh fruit is great served alone or with desserts, salads, cooked with meats or used in sauces. The uses for fresh and dried fruits in recipes are endless, let’s go through a few recipes that utilize these fruits in meals.