What’s on your plate: 8 ways to include fruits into your diet

Fruits by nature were designed to attract humans with their colorful peels and natural sugar. But why don’t fruits feature as a regular part of our diet as much as they should?


Eating right isn’t just about what you cut out from your diet, but also about what you add to it! Sejal Parikh tells us 8 ways to add the goodness of fruits into your diet.

Imagine being in your 70s and yet looking refreshingly youthful, totally disease-free, and retaining all your teeth, natural hair colour and perfect vision! If you think this is an airy dream which can’t be turned into reality, here’s some good news to the contrary. Annette Larkins and Mimi Kirk are two of the many people who serve as living testaments of the fact that this ultimate health goal is truly realizable. What makes it happen is their raw vegan diet, dominated heavily by fruits! Simply put, they are ‘fruitfully young’.

Fruits are the most colourful foods found in nature. Green, orange, red, white, black, yellow – you think of a colour and you will most likely find a fruit matching to that in nature. Humans instinctively get drawn towards colorful foods, a fact many processed foods companies learnt a while ago and started adding colours to both the packaging and the products. They knew that no one was gonna buy that candy if it came in black & white! Due to vigorous marketing & advertising of chemical addictive and flavors, people are more drawn towards these artificial glitters. It’s saddening to see that a lot of obvious and natural things don’t occur naturally to many!

The demand for such unhealthy foods has soared to such an extent that even schools and colleges are getting vending machines in India, packed abundantly with junk foods! Most of these snacks can easily be replaced by fruits. Fruits can be had for breakfast, a mid-night snack, or for dessert. You can even grab a few apples or bananas when you are on the go while in the bus/train or even on the bicycle! Unfortunately, despite this, many people struggle to make fruits an integral part of their diets.

Here are 8 handy innovative ideas to beat that.

Fruits for breakfast

Pic – I’m George | Flickr

Fruits are best had on empty stomach, as they are extremely easy to digest, requiring not much of digestive enzymes. Replacing typical cooked breakfast with fruits/fruit smoothies/green smoothies will also save you precious morning time. Stuff yourselves with these super-foods till you feel full; there’s no upper limit!

Fruit smoothies

Don’t have enough time to chew fruits? You can either simply blend fruits like papaya, muskmelon or combine different fruits to make delicious smoothies. Add soaked almonds, watermelon/pumpkin/sunflower seeds, and ginger or stevia for added sweetness/flavoring. One can also combine different fruits to make smoothies.

Green smoothies

It’s one of the best ways to have raw greens. Wash your greens well, roughly chop them a bit. Take 2 bananas (any other pulpy fruit is fine too) and 1 cup of any greens and blend them well with water. Some people use frozen bananas. You can also try adding dates or ginger here for flavoring. Here’s one of the many ways to make it. Green smoothies have been an integral part of my breakfast for more than a year. I simply mix coriander, mint, curry leaves, amaranth, gongura and any other local greens I get with bananas or chickoo, and 1tbsp of freshly ground flax-seeds powder.

Salads

Pic – ecastro | Flickr

Fruits add colours and flavours to your salads! Add a handful of pomegranate seeds or chopped apples to you any of your salad and enjoy!

Puddings

Yummy raw fruit puddings are my favorite breakfast! Ideally any pulpy fruit makes good pudding, but mangoes are the best at it! However chickoo, frozen banana chunks, ripe papaya or custard apple pulp also make good choices. Blend any of these fruits to make thick creamy paste. Add a pinch of vanilla extract and mix well. Add finely chopped apples and/or pomegranates, raisins and a few thin almond slices. Freeze for 10 min and enjoy!

Fruit based Ice-creams

Blend (half kg of) any pulpy fruit like mango (or chickoo or custard apple) with a handful of cashews and soaked dates according to the sweetness required. Blend well till the mixture becomes fluffy. Take it out in a container and freeze for 2 hours. No need to whip it in between as this ice-cream doesn’t get any ice-crystals! Simply scoop and eat! Mango ice-cream is heavenly, and all my guests have loved it!

Banana peanut-butter chocolate ice-cream

Freeze pieces of two bananas overnight and thaw them in the morning. In a blender, add 2 table spoons of peanut butter and cocoa powder (to taste) and blend well. Soaked dates can be added if more sweetness is desired. Take out the mixture in a container and freeze for two hours.

Fruit detox

Pic – Identity Photogr@phy | Flickr

Fruit are wonderful for detoxification of our bodies. People usually plan a 3-7 day detox diet and eat only fruits during these days. It’s good to start your day with fruits containing high water content like melons or citrus fruits, and then go on to more pulpy fruits. One need not stay hungry during these days. Eat as much fruit as you want. Many even eat 10-12 bananas for lunch! Watch changes in your body. You may feel sick during initial days as toxins from your body are being removed. Some people have loose-motions, vomiting or even fever. But within 3 days, health typically starts improving. However, it might be a good idea to consult a dietitian before starting your detox, if one is suffering from a long-term illness.

Bonus: Gifting fruits!

Fruits serve as wonderful gift for our loved ones not just when they are in hostpital but also in festive season when overdose of sweets and fried snacks push our bodies to grave limits!

But what about sugar?

Refined sugar, is just empty calories without any fibres or nutrients and hence raises the blood sugar levels. On the other hand, in case of fruits, the presence of fiber makes the progression from intestinal wall into the bloodstream very slow and steady. On a related note, juicing fruits in a way that removes fibers should be avoided. However, thick fruit smoothies (retaining pulp/fiber like I talked in above recipes) are very healthy.

All in all, we can’t thank nature enough for this complete package, rich in all the essential vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fibers and antioxidants. So, let’s go make our lives ‘fruit’ful!


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Telecommunication engineer by profession, who used to earn her bread by working with MNCs for about 6 years post-graduation until she found her interests venturing into environmental and social problems. She then took a break for few years and traveled through the country, primarily in rural areas, where she was exposed to vegan lifestyle. She's now a passionate vegan, freelance writer at the s... more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Telecommunication engineer by profession, who used to earn her bread by working with MNCs for about 6 years post-graduation until she found her interests venturing into environmental and social problems. She then took a break for few years and traveled through the country, primarily in rural areas, where she was exposed to vegan lifestyle. She's now a passionate vegan, freelance writer at the s... more

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  • Chetana

    We cannot survive without fruits! Thanks Sejal for this wonderful article. In our house we typically have a stock of all seasonal fruits and my daughter loves it when we cut fruits to make different shapes like cars or faces. For me fruit is best had in salads. Banana-peanut butter ice cream is a staple in our household. We love mixing up some walnuts or flax seeds for that extra healthfulness

  • V. Balasubramanian

    Thank you, Sejal. We live on fruits and greens. We also do regular exercises and walking. My friend and I are hale and healthy at our early 70s — fruitful life indeed. Some wonderful recipes for fruit ice cream and fruits-greens smoothie are highly helpful to attract children to eat fruits. My grand children in the USA are spoiled with junk foods, and I find it very difficult to turn them to vegetarian diets and fruits when I visit them every year for 2 months. I have now added a few fruits to their lunch bag, but often they come back in the lunch box. So difficult to change them. They don’t realize that they are spoiling their health without realizing its consequences later. Thank you for the wonderful fruit recipes that I shall try with my grand children. Cheers, Bala.