Three Easy Ways to Incorporate More Fruit into Your Diet
I have been enjoying lots of fall/winter fruits lately. Fresh dates, different kinds of persimmons and Florida oranges are my favorites this time of the year. The picture above shows my “little snack” I got from the local Farmer’s Market: Satsuma Tangerines, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Amber Sweet Oranges, Fuyu Persimmons and some greens. Papaya and Ice-Cream Bananas were from South Florida and came from the local co-op store.
Some of the best tasting and sweetest fruits are available during this time, and this fact fills my whole being with joy and excitement. So, I decided to share this exhilarating feeling with you and write this article on how to incorporate more fruit into your diet. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet you are currently eating — I’m sure you and your health can benefit from the fresh goodness of sweet and non-sweet fruits.
I also believe that even if you live in a part of the world where fruit I mentioned above is currently not available, you still might find information in this article helpful. Especially, if you are working on improving your diet and incorporating more fresh whole foods into it.
But before we get to the practical tips I would like to point out something that’s important.
So, why eat more fruit? Is this a silly question, after all? I don’t think so. Moreover, I believe this question is quite legitimate and deserves to be answered accordingly.
You might already know that we, as humans, are designed to run on carbohydrates, and every single cell in our bodies is fueled by simple sugars or simple carbohydrates. On an optimal, healthful and sustainable diet we should get most of our calories from carbohydrates, whether they be simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are better for us, they are easier to digest, and are found naturally in a variety of foods that we consume daily. Fruit is a natural source of simple carbohydrates or simple sugars, which are considered healthy because they also include natural plant and fruit fibers, provided the fruit is eaten and not just the juice.
So, what happens if we don’t eat enough carbohydrates in our diet? We eat too much fat, which is bad news for us and can have a detrimental effect on our health. Therefore, you either eat a high-carb or hight-fat diet. On the 80/10/10 diet it’s either fruit or fat. It is that simple. If you don’t get enough calories from sweet fruit, you’ll set yourself up on a path of “catching up” with fatty foods. Not a very good choice if your goal is high energy, optimal digestion and disease-free life.
That’s why I suggest you to eat more fruit. Train your body to accept larger fruit meals. Eat fruit until you are fully satiated. Explore. Experiment. Enjoy.
Here I would like to share a few of my best tips on how to incorporate more fruit into your diet.
1. Blend, blend, blend!
Most likely, you heard that one before. This is because blending works. As far as I’m concerned, it works like a charm. For instance, if you offer me a small pile of perfectly ripe bananas as a meal, it will be quite challenging to eat them all at once, and not as enjoyable. However, if I take that same pile of bananas and blend them with some berries, a few dates and a couple cups of water in my Vitamix… it will be a totally different experience. I will enjoy this sweet and creamy banana-berry goodness tremendously, and it won’t take me that long to finish the whole thing!
In fact, I do this every day. I have a whole Vitamix container (8.5 cups) of banana-raspberry smoothie for lunch. This large smoothie packs about a 1000 calories (which is about half of my daily calorie intake), and keeps me satiated for hours.
So, please, if you haven’t done so already, discover the power of blending yourself. Get into blending even if you don’t have a high-speed blender like Vitamix, simply use the blender you already have. Not all your meals have to be blended (and they shouldn’t), but at least some of them can be turned into creamy and frothy smoothies and puddings to add variety and help you to eat more fruit.
2. Make fruity salad dressings.
Have you ever tried a salad dressing made with sweet fruit on your greens? If you haven’t, you are in for a treat. And trust me, I know what I’m talking about. Homemade fruity salad dressings are one of the most delectable things you can experience on your raw food journey.
The idea behind it is simple: You take conventional fatty, oily and salty dressing and replace it with sweet fruit-based one (which lacks oil and salt, of course). And the trick is, you won’t miss those harmful ingredients (like oil and salt) in your salad once you learn how to make delicious fruit-based dressings. These dressings will provide calories and add sweetness to your salad greens, which means you’ll be eating less fat. In fact, if you have sweetness in your meal, you won’t desire fat.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for fruity salad dressings.
You can take a ripe persimmon and squeeze its oozing jelly onto your salad. My recent tasty discovery was a combination of young arugula leaves and very ripe persimmons — there is something really special about a marriage of these flavors. Peppery, spicy arugula and sweet persimmon make a great couple. Simple, fast and ready in minutes! What else can you desire?
Another amazing salad dressing I enjoyed recently was made with mango and freshly squeezed orange juice. I juiced the oranges first, and then blended a big mango with the juice. It was incredibly delicious on a bed of tender baby greens! If you want something less complicated and doesn’t require blending, you can simply squeeze a couple of oranges onto your salad. Use orange juice as a dressing or even orange segments, if you like. Other types of sweet citrus fruits like tangerines work well in salads too.
Get a little creative and come up with some combinations you enjoy. Even if you have just one fruity salad dressing that you absolutely love and can pour over your salad for a change of pace. To give you more inspiration, here is the picture of my beautiful low-fat salad with some citrus fruits. It was so yummy!
3. Snack on fruit.
This one may seem too obvious. However, from my experience, very few of us actually do it and do it properly. First of all if you practice snacking at all it will be a good idea to replace your unhealthy, fatty and salty snacks with fresh ripe fruit. The important thing is not to snack on fruit right after you had a large meal of, for instance, potatoes or grains combined with some fat. It will be wise to wait at least a couple of hours before you snack on fruit in order to avoid digestive disasters.
As far as me concerned, bananas are a perfect snack, even though I’m not into snacking that much. With that said, I always carry ripe bananas with me when I’m on the go. I like to be prepared and don’t wanna be caught with my pants down.
Some of you may say that you are not really into bananas, and that’s perfectly fine. You just have to pack whatever fruit you prefer, whether it be apples, oranges or grapes. In my opinion, bananas are hard to beat in this regard, because they are self-contained, easy to eat and don’t create a mess. They are also extremely satiating and hard to overeat on.
In fact, I’m a big banana lover, and I’ve been talking about bananas quite a bit in my previous articles and have been promoting them ever since I started this website. And there is a reason why.
So, all my rawsome readers out there who are not banana fans, hear me out please.
When I initially switched to high-fruit eating program, I didn’t eat a lot of bananas either. Actually, my first month on the 80/10/10 diet I hardly ate any bananas at all. I remember loving bananas as a child, but that was a different story… I lived in a Soviet Union, where bananas were no less that a rare exotic tropical treat. At the time, they were not available all year long as they are now pretty much in every part of the world, including Russia.
It took me quite a while to start eating more and more bananas and to get to the point where, on some days, I can live on just bananas and greens (some of them in the form of smoothies). I started slowly last year and went from 3 bananas in my smoothie to 6-7 in one smoothie as of now. Banana is an indispensable fruit in my daily menu, and I even noticed that I don’t feel quite satisfied if I don’t eat my huge banana smoothie for lunch.
Another interesting thing I’ve noticed is that my desire for bananas had increased since I incorporated regular exercise into my daily routine. And this didn’t come as a surprise, since my caloric requirements have increased slightly. And banana is a high-calorie fruit. In fact, pretty much all of my favorite fruits such as bananas, mangoes and dates are high-calorie fruits. I partially attribute my success on this eating program to the fact that I eat lots of these high-calorie fruits. They keep me satisfied, satiated and free of cravings.
The moral of this story is this: Make friends with bananas! You’ll be glad you did.
Your Friend on a Fruit-Eating Journey,