Fruit: nature’s homemade, delicious go-to in the health department. Does it have any flaws? The answer is both yes, and no. These natural beauties are more abundant during the summer time than anything else, and it’s easy to get caught up in their vibrant colors and promises of nutritious goodness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sprinting to your local Farmer’s Market, scooping up a basket of blueberries, and gobbling them down—well, maybe wash them first, but the principle stands: Fruit is good for you; some moderation required.
Unfortunately, it is possible to eat too much fruit. Here are some helpful rules to follow when it comes to your fruit intake this summer, and every month that follows.
1. Don’t Supersize Your Produce
Like most things in America, the average apple size has doubled, possibly even tripled in the last few years. Genetically modified fruits can grow to Hulk-ian proportions, which means that the next time you go to pick up a piece of fruit, you may be consuming about twice as much sugar, calories, and nutrients as you actually need. Instead of grabbing the first piece of supersized fruit you can lay your hands on in the produce section, be on the lookout for smaller, healthier options. Often, the best place to find these is at your local Famer's Market or health food store.
2. Cut Down on the Sweetest Stuff
There’s a reason some fruits taste sweeter than others—it’s because they are. Your average grape or banana is packed with sugar and thus extra calories. While eating these fruits certainly isn’t as bad as drinking a can of soda, they’re still not exactly weight loss weapons. Try replacing these fruits with something a little less sugar packed. Better choices include pears, strawberries, raspberries, and watermelon, all of which have a lower glycemic load, a measure of how strongly a food impacts your blood sugar.
3. Pair Your Fruit With Protein
The fiber in fruit helps regulate your body’s absorption of the sugar so your energy levels don’t spike and crash. However, adding in some fat and protein can help round out your nutritional intake and regulate your body’s energy levels even more. Try pairing your fruit servings with 8 almonds, a low-fat yogurt, or 2 pieces of low-sodium jerky.
4. Beware of Smoothies
If you’re using one of my smoothie recipes, you shouldn’t need to worry about the amount of fruit in your drink. However, if you’re ordering out or making your own, there’s a chance your drink could contain as much as three, four, even five times the amount of a healthy serving of fruit. Smoothie restaurants are particularly sneaky culprits. The moral of this story is to check the fruit serving size in each of your drinks and take that into account for the day. Don’t drink something that holds four servings of fruit crammed into 16 ounces. Trust me, you don’t need it.
5. Stop at Two
This is your easy, simple, golden rule: Stop at two servings of fruit. I know we’re all used eating big when it comes to fruit, but you really don’t need the sugar, calories, and vitamins from more than two servings a day. If you're eating the right amounts of your other healthy food groups and hydrating fully, you'll already be full.