Gone are the fresh watermelons, peaches, blueberries and plums of the summer season. We now welcome the winter fruits: navel oranges, clementines, grapefruit, cranberries and pomegranate to name a few. Fresh fruits that are generally available year round are apples, pears, bananas and grapes.
Fruit is packed with nutrients! Winter fruit such as pomegranates, oranges and other citrus fruits are bursting with vitamin C and potassium. Cranberries (also rich in vitamin C) are loaded with plant compounds that help us stay healthy by fighting inflammation. Most fruits offer a decent amount of fiber.
The sugary goodness of fruit has earned it the nick-name of "nature's candy", so fruit is of course the dessert of choice. Fruit may also be eaten as a between meal snack when we are hungry... IF paired with protein such as cheese or nuts. Not only does the protein (and healthy fat that comes with it) help to stabilize blood sugar levels BUT it also gives the fruit more staying power (fruit doesn't do much by itself to keep us full until the next meal!!).
There IS such a thing as eating TOO MUCH fruit. Snacking randomly on fruit between meals can add up quickly. Instead of the two (to three at most) servings of whole fruit that is recommended daily, some kids devour six or more servings a day! That's a LOT of sugar. There is another reason that nibbling on fruit throughout the day is NOT a good idea: the acids in fruit can over time wear away the tooth enamel. So... enjoy seasonal fruit for sure, but do so in moderation and if possible eat the fruit for dessert OR as part of a protein-based snack (such as orange slices with sunflower seed kernels).
Winter Fruit Salad for Dessert
One very crisp tart apple (red or green) NOT peeled, cut into bite sized pieces
Two clementines (cut sections into halves) OR one navel orange, peeled and cut into chunks
One medium to large banana, cut into circular slices
One fresh pineapple cut into chunks (if fresh pineapple is not available, use WELL - DRAINED canned chunks that have been packed in juice, NOT heavy or light syrup)
1/2 cup of green or purple seedless grapes, halved
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
Simply add all fruits together in a medium to large mixing bowl and stir gently until well mixed.
Place in fridge until ready to serve.
Just before serving stir in chopped nuts.