Welcoming a new life into the world is quite a challenging task that begins long before birth. Nourishing your growing baby during pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to start exercising healthy eating habits. Fruit is essential for providing the proper vitamins and minerals to women who are either pregnant or nursing. Folic acid is one spotlight vitamin that is overwhelmingly crucial to the development of a healthy and strong baby:
Folic acid is fundamental to the development of a healthy baby, aiding in the prevention of serious birth defects originating in the brain and spine. Researchers have found that the more common birth defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy, a period before most women even discover they are pregnant. Thus, the CDC recommends that women of child-bearing age consume 0.4 milligrams of folic acid every day before even conceiving and continuing for at least 3 months after conception. Although not quite a household name, folic acid is actually more common than you think! Fruits such as strawberries, dates, peaches, apricots, and raisins are all rich with folic acid. For those of us women who boast healthy eating habits abundant with fruits, it seems we can enjoy important prenatal vitamins without even making drastic changes to our diets!
The grills are sizzling, and the beach balls are flying; summer is officially here! As a delectable and juicy - and healthy! - treat in the summer heat, fruit salad is also one of the easier side dishes to prepare. Served along a rack of sizzling BBQ ribs or even as a mid-day snack to enjoy under the sun, this healthy fruit salad recipe can be enjoyed in minutes!
3 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 pound red and green seedless grapes
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
5 peaches, peeled and and chopped
3 kiwis, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup pineapple juice
Juice of 1 lime
1. In a large bowl, combine and toss the sliced and chopped fruit; combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Pour the dressing over the fruit mixture and mix gently. Cover and chill before serving.
It is not uncommon to enter a grocery store or local supermarket and see the same varieties of fruits and vegetables year round thanks to the convenience of artificial harvesting conditions as well as our growing dependence on foreign countries. Although sustaining the supply of our favorite fruits and vegetables, could both methods of production actually be accompanied by major costs?
When a fruit is out-of-season, it cannot be produced locally and is thus imported from elsewhere or it is grown in a heated greenhouse. Grocery stores and local supermarkets must thus incur the cost of importing by raising their prices. Unfortunately, the excitement of indulging in a juicy summer watermelon in the dead of winter still lures many consumers into buying out-of-season fruit, even if it means spending more money. Apart from the impact out-of-season fruit can have on your budget, the quality of the produce itself is not worth the extra money. The nutritional content and freshness of fruits and vegetables decrease from the moment they are harvested. Fruits that must be imported remain in storage containers or trucks for days, altering their vibrant colors, natural fragrances, juicy tastes, and healthy nutrients. Furthermore, the trucks and planes themselves that transport the food have a negative impact on the environment with their increased carbon footprints. However, if fruits were bought in season, then we wouldn't have to worry about the steep prices or extra carbon emissions invested in transporting food from elsewhere! Buying fruit out-of-season simply lacks the same benefits of buying fruit in season. Local produce is more fresh and - by extension - much healthier with its nutritional content and natural flavors still intact. Every season yields a delicious and gratifying variety of fruit; all it takes is the will to explore new options!
Buying fruit in season can have a positive impact on your health, budget, and sustainability. The following Fruit Seasonality Chart is an excellent tool to track when our favorite fruits are in season, conserving our health, wallets, and the environment!
Any parent knows that the health benefits and nutritional value of fruit alone is not satisfying enough to convince children to eat fruit, but sometimes parenting can be more effective with creative alternatives. Health and nutrition should be a serious matter, but who said you couldn't have some fun with it? Embrace your artistic side and maximize the use of your kitchen utensils with this fun tip on how to make fruit fun, and more importantly, get your children involved in the preparation process!
Things You'll Need
assorted cookie cutters
1. Cut larger fruit into slices no more than 1" thick. For smaller fruit like strawberries and grapes, leave whole or cut in half.
2. Use cookie cutters to cut the fruit into fun shapes.
3. Arrange the fruit on a kabob and enjoy!
Is there such a thing as healthy chocolate? More and more health researchers agree that there are health benefits of dark chocolate - among them are cell-protecting antioxidants, servings of vital vitamins and minerals, and benefits to the heart. Especially when paired with a highly nutritious fruit rich in fiber and various vitamins such as strawberries, who could disagree that dark chocolate is a healthy indulgence? Enjoy this recipe for a sinfully delicious (yet healthy!) snack.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Ingredients and Utensils
8.5 oz bag of dark chocolate
1 quart of strawberries
baking pain covered with wax paper
1. Prepare a baking pan with a sheet of waxed paper for the chocolate dipped berries to harden on. Wash strawberries, keeping their stems intact, and let dry thoroughly.
2. Heat chocolate in the double boiler on medium heat, and stir consistently until melted. Remove from heat.
3. Quickly dip the strawberries in the chocolate, place on the baking pan, and let stand until hardened.
*Don't have a double boiler? An easy alternative is to place a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water!