Friday, January 8, 2010

Fruitful Friday

Fruits are classed as carbohydrates. The fruit group includes all fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, as well as juices. Be careful with canned fruit - the sugar content can be high; the same applies to juices - many of them are sweetened.
 Like vegetables, fruit comes in the most wonderful assortment of shapes, sizes, colours and flavours - from delicate little bluberries, through to enormous watermelons. Also like vegetables, fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as flavonoids and polyphenols.
Fruits are naturally sweet, but, for the most part, low in calories and fat.
Choose fresh fruit over juice. The vitamins and minerals are still there in the juice, but the fibre content is reduced. Dried fruit has more kilocalories/kilojoules and nutrients than an equal weight of fresh fruit. Some of the lighter coloured fruits, like apples, pears, sultanas and apricots are treated with sulphur-based preservatives when they are dried, to prevent discolouration.Anyone with asthma or allergies should exercise caution when eating fruits dried in this way. Dried fruit makes a great snack and provides a quick enery boost.
The recommendation for fruit consumption is two to three servings per day; one serve is equivalent to 1 medium apple, orange or pear; OR 125ml juice; OR 80gm (about half a cup) blueberries, raspberries or strawberries; OR 3 prunes; OR 1 Tblsp raisins or sultanas.
Personally, I eat few bananas, maybe one a week, just because of the high sugar content. And the riper the fruit, the higher the sugar content - not just bananas. And limit dried fruit to 1 cup a week.
I make a lot of fruit salads - in South Africa, we are fortunate to have a pretty wide selection of fruit available throughout the year. I know in many places you're lucky to get more than apples and oranges during the winter months. Sometimes I set mixed, chopped fruit in a sugar-free jelly. If you want to do this, don't put pineapple in, it effects the set. Oh, and reduce the amount of water slightly.
Today, Sally Avridge is having half a cup of blueberries on her breakfast porridge, and a large slice of cantaloupe melon (try it sprinkled with ground ginger. Yum) after dinner. She can also have an apple or pear midafternoon if she feels peckish.
That's 2 - 3 fruit servings today. Well done, Sally.

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