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Fruit Facts: Packing it in

Fruit is a perfect diet food, especially for those of us who have a mean sweet tooth. It can curb cravings, boost antioxidants and offers a multitude of other health benefits. But the kind of fruit you eat is almost less important than how it's packaged. Whether you prefer canned, frozen, dry or fresh, weigh the pros and cons and the impact they have on your diet. Dried fruit is certainly convenient, portable and tasty. But it's also easy to overindulge. Dried fruit is physically smaller than fresh fruit, so you get less per serving. For example, one cup of fresh apricot slices will cost you about 74 calories. One cup of dried apricots weigh in at more than 300 calories! When fruit goes through a dehydrating process, it also can lose nutrients such as vitamin C. If you like canned fruit, then the diet busters to avoid are those that contain added sugar. Look for fruit packed in water, rather than sugary syrups.
You may think fresh fruit is the way to go - and it is, if it's straight off the vine. But the offerings in the produce section likely have been off the vine for some time, which leaches nutrients. A great option for fruit lovers is frozen fruit. Fresh-frozen fruit loses very few nutrients, and you can find a greater variety of fruit year-round. Frozen fruit is a favorite among smoothie lovers - it's ready to go straight into the blender! Again, look for varieties without added sugar. There are plenty of healthful ways to incorporate fruit into a healthy diet - get creative!