Healthy eating guidelines tell us Australians should be eating two serves of fruit a day. Unfortunately, many of us don’t manage that, perhaps through fear of over-consuming sugar or because we don’t like a particular fruit.
But there are easy ways to improve your fruit consumption – and your body will thank you for it.
“I always advise people to eat seasonally because it’s cheaper and better quality,” accredited practising dietitian Charlene Grosse says.
“When you look at fruit and vegetables, it’s good to consume a variety that balances it all across the week, but also a variety within each fruit and vegetable.”
This is because different fruits have different nutritional content – and the key is in their colours. Oranges, for example, are high in vitamin C while bananas have lots of potassium. Ms Grosse recommends keeping an eye on the kaleidoscope of fruit you eat across any week.
“It’s important to choose different-coloured fruit,” she says.
A serve of fruit is defined as a portion that will fit in the palm of your hand – for instance, a small apple, a pear or two apricots.
This can include pre-prepared servings (choose those in natural juice, with no added sugar) but not fruit juice or dried fruit.
For 100 per cent natural fruit juice (with no added sugar), a serve is measured as half a cup (125 millilitres) – which is something to consider before you down that 600ml bottle.
“That would mean you wouldn’t be able to have other fruit because of the recommendations for the day,” Ms Grosse said.
Like fruit juice, dried fruit is higher in sugar than natural fruit. For dried fruit, a serve is one-and-a-half tablespoons.
“Each sultana is a whole grape; each dried apricot is a whole apricot,” she says.
“It’s quite easy to over-consume dried fruit – and the sugar is more concentrated because the moisture has been removed.”
Dried fruit is also comparatively low in fibre and can cause dental issues if it gets stuck on teeth.
It’s also important to remember that two serves of fruit are all that are needed each day. There’s no need to aim for more, and it might even be counter-productive to do so.
“You should focus more on vegetables,” Ms Grosse said.
“Only 7 per cent of Australians meet the recommendations [of five serves a day] for vegetables.”
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