The new fruit guidelines that the USDA recommends as a healthy diet habit are:
- Choose any variety of fruit, or 100% juice. They can be fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut-up, or pureed.
- Fill your plate half full of fruits and vegetables.
- Children should get 1 to 1 1/2 cups of daily, girls 1 to 1 1/2 cups daily, boys 1 1/2 cups daily, women 1 1/2 to 2 cups daily, and men 2 cups daily.
- A cup of fresh, 1 cup of 100% juice, or 1/2 cup of dried, can be counted as a 1 cup serving.
- The health benefits achieved by following the dietary guidelines are: a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, protection against certain cancers, reduced obesity and diabetes, lowered blood pressure, and reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss, and filling up on lower calorie foods.
- They are also low in fat, sodium, calories, and do not have cholesterol, and contain many vitamins and fiber.
If you are following the fruit guidelines, these are some tips that will help you to meet your daily quota of fruit:
- Leave a bowl on your table, counter or refrigerator, for grab and go snacks!
- Refrigerate cut up pieces for later.
- Buy seasonal choices that are cheaper and more flavorful.
- Keep dried, frozen and canned ones on hand too.
- Buy pre-sliced varieties without added sugar for quick snacks.
- Limit juice and choose fresh choices that contain added fiber.
- Choose high potassium ones like bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots and orange juice.
- Choose canned varieties in either 100% juice or water.
- Vary your choices for greater daily nutrients.
- Top your cereal with fresh berries, add blueberries to pancakes, mix any type in yogurt, or drink juice at breakfast.
- Eat fresh choices or packaged containers of fruits for lunch.
- Add fresh varieties to salads at dinner or make fruit salads, or add them to meat dishes, or kabobs, and choose fruit laden desserts or just a simple piece for dessert.
- Cut them up for snacks, carry dried varieties for snacking or leave a bag in your car or desk, spread peanut butter on them, or add to a yogurt, or enjoy a frozen bar.
- Serve them with a yogurt dip, in a blended smoothie, and in cakes.
- Be an example to your kids, serve them different choices for lunch, and let them shop for their favorites, try new ones, make kabobs, and only offer fresh choices to kids rather than chewy candy type snacks that contain little nutrition.
- Wash them well before eating and keep them separate from all meats and fish to avoid contamination.
These are the fruit guidelines according to the USDA. They are awesome! It is a great Lifestyle Solution to add more fruits to your meal plans. I would suggest that you buy organic varieties whenever possible, especially for the most pesticide laden ones called the dirty dozen.
Also, do not over eat fruits if you are practicing weight control. If you filled your plate half full of them daily, chose them for your snacks and desserts, you would eat too many! They are more caloric than vegetables and you could actually gain weight with eating healthy foods!
Remember the average person should eat only between 1 1/2 to 2 cups daily. Enjoy!