5 Ways to Make Fruit More Fun

5 Ways to Make Fruit More Fun
Courtesy of Hungry-Girl.com

Are you eating enough fruit? The USDA recommends that most adults get 2 to 4 servings (about 2 cups) per day, but many of us fall short! I personally love fruit and eat it often, but not everyone reaches for an apple when they're craving a snack. Here are five healthy ways to make fruit more fun.

1. Add Dark Chocolate

If you still think chocolate is a diet no-no, it's time to get up to speed. Dark chocolate is full of health benefits (in moderation, of course). Double your nutritional gains by pairing it with fresh fruit. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips (a.k.a. dark chocolate), and drizzle them over all types of fruit: fresh berries, pineapple chunks, apple slices, you name it! You can also step up your game and make raspberry kiss crunchettes, choco-berry crunch yogurt parfait, or chocolate banana nachos.

2. Turn It Into S’mores

Classic s’mores are inarguably delicious. (Who doesn’t love melted chocolate, gooey marshmallows, and crunchy graham crackers?) But I’ve found a way to slash the calories and fat count and up the health factor. I use a base of apple slices instead of graham crackers, and the result is mind-meltingly amazing! The apple adds a bit of juiciness that works so well with the other flavors.

Open-Faced Apple S’mores
Entire recipe: 126 calories, 3g total fat (2g sat fat), 30mg sodium, 26g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 18.5g sugars, 1g protein

1. In a very small microwave-safe bowl, microwave 2 teaspoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips at 50 percent power for 25 seconds. Stir until smooth and uniform.

2. Spread chocolate over two round 1/2-inch-thick Gala or Fuji apple slices. Top with 2 tablespoons mini marshmallows. 

3. Using a kitchen torch, heat marshmallows until slightly melted and toasted, 5 to 10 seconds. (Alternatively, microwave for about 20 seconds.)

4. Finely crush one low-fat graham cracker and sprinkle it over the apple slices. Let your inner child indulge!

3. Freeze It

If you’ve never eaten your fruit in frozen form, you're missing out. Each piece is like a bite of an all-natural fruit bar!

Grab a bag of frozen berries or mango chunks from the supermarket and pop them straight into your mouth. Just check the ingredients to make sure no sugar has been added. Also, give my recipe for Fro-Yo Grapesicles a try!

Another easy way to enjoy frozen fruit is in a healthy smoothie—but not all smoothies are healthy. To keep your calories in check, whip up DIY smoothies.

4. Perk Up Salads

Think beyond veggies when you toss together a salad! Fruit can be a welcome and tasty addition. Top your salad with berries for a burst of flavor, or cut up some apples for some crunch. (Apples are one of my favorite crouton alternatives!) Fruit can also add zazzle to deli-style salads. Whip up a healthy chicken salad with light mayo and halved grapes. There's more than one possibility, so give them all a try.

5. Get Grillin'

Fruit can taste even better if you grill it. Here’s a recipe to help you step up your BBQ game this summer.

Grilled Juicy Fruit Kebabs & Dip 
1/4th of recipe (1 kebab with about 3 tbsp. dip): 135 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 17mg sodium, 30.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 23g sugars, 4.5g protein 

1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 20 minutes to prevent burning. (You’ll need 4 skewers.)

2. Combine the following ingredients to make the dip: 6 ounces fat-free plain Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly blended and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Cut up the following fruits into 1-inch chunks; you'll need a cup of each: pineapple, mango, peach/nectarine, and banana. Thread them onto 4 skewers, packing the pieces tightly together. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  

4. Bring a grill (or grill pan) sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add skewers, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until fruit is slightly blackened and caramelized. If using a grill pan, work in batches, removing the pan from heat in between batches to re-spray.  

5. Serve with dip and savor the sweet flavors of summer!

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