I was having a conversation the other day with another mama, who when she found out I was a Dietitian, nervously asked if it’s okay to feed her kids fruit because she has heard otherwise.
Insert major eye roll here. If you are listening to the rumors that fruit is bad, please stop. Yes, fruit is a carbohydrate, and yes it is filled with sugar (keep in mind, naturally occurring sugars)—but fruit is not what is causing weight gain, diabetes, and increased disease states in our society. It is the fake sugars and processed carbohydrates that we have to blame for that. Think: too many donuts and chicken biscuits.
Fruit, in its simplest state (meaning not chocolate covered or in juice version) is nature’s candy and can be the perfect snack, curb to your sweet craving, and addition to any meal. (That is not to say enjoying the occasional mimosa and chocolate covered strawberries isn’t allowed either). Stop listening to those current diet trends that restrict fruit and start eating the fruity rainbow. Here is why you should load up on more fruit:
Not only does fiber keep your gut healthy, it keeps you fuller longer. Eating an apple might keep you from aimlessly eating something less healthy later in the day. Raspberries, pears, and hold the phone—pumpkin—are all high fiber fruits that you need in your life.
Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Aside from veggies, no other food offers jam packed nutrients. Simply put, the vitamins and minerals in fruit can improve your overall wellbeing and health and that’s reason enough to grab a banana.
With veggies, there sometimes can be prep work, but fruit can be so e a s y. Apples, peaches, blueberries, and so much more are just grab and go. Oranges and bananas just require a quick peel and if you’ve got tons of time, chopping those green leaves off strawberries isn’t so bad. But seriously-the ease of fruit cannot be beat especially when you consider what a healthful snack it is.
In general, fruits are way lower in calories than other foods. You’re getting more bang for your buck: eating one cup of strawberries versus one cup of Oreos would be a comparable difference in calories but you’re still getting a ton of food and satiety by going with the berries! Avocados are an exception to this, but they still provide way more nutrients than any sort of processed snack would.
When is the last time you bought just one banana? For me, it was awhile ago and if I remember right, it cost 19 cents. Apples (even organic), are usually around 50 cents and a full container of berries is around three dollars. Some organic fruits can definitely cost more, but overall, that cheap banana is nothing compared to your six dollar latte and it is providing you a whole lot of fuel for such a tiny price.
There is no denying fruit is sweet—that’s what makes people so scared of it. But like with everything, if you’re concerned about the sugar content, you can always keep things in moderation. Instead of going for one cup of grapes, you could cut to one half. If I’m being honest though, my philosophy is, fruits and veggies are a free for all. If my littles want a snack, they can have whatever and how much ever fruit they want—think of the alternative: pineapple trumps goldfish any day.
With fruit, remember the premade juices at the store that advertise ‘1 cup of fruit’ don’t count—you want the real stuff that you can hold and chew. Always be sure to drink lots of water because the fiber content is no joke. All that fruit is going to make you a ‘fineapple’.