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May 18, 2023

Practical Ways to Eat 2 to 3 Servings of Fruit a Day

We recently discussed some of the latest research on the health benefits of following our Simple 9© Habit #2: Eat 2 to 3 Servings of Fruit a Day. In addition to improving your waistline, eating more fruit can make you feel better about yourself. Let’s face it, you know in your gut (pun intended) you win when you choose an apple over a donut. The donut elicits feelings of guilt, while the apple gives you a sense of health and accomplishment.

Let’s look at a few practical ways we can increase our daily fruit intake and reduce the amount of junk we put in our body.

Start Each Day With ½ Cup of Berries

Berries are by far my favorite fruit: they are very colorful, low in sugar, and high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep free radicals under control. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are beneficial in small amounts, but they can cause oxidative stress when their numbers get too high, which damages your cells. Things like chronic cardio (running too much), not getting enough sleep, and smoking can greatly increase your oxidative stress.

The USDA includes blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries on its list of top 20 antioxidant-rich foods. They also contain higher amounts of fiber and less sugar and carbs than most other fruits. In fact, someone following a low-carb keto diet can even eat ½ cup of berries. A typical serving of ½ cup of berries contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Blackberries — 10
  • Blueberries — 11
  • Raspberries — 7
  • Strawberries — 6

Always keep plenty of these berries on hand. Start each day with ½ cup. And there’s no problem with eating a whole cup. You’ll start your day by eating something that will make you feel good about yourself.

Always Keep a Bowl of Fresh Fruit on Your Counter 

Having a bowl of fresh fruit sitting on your counter looks good. In fact, decorators use plastic fruit to add color and texture to a room. But why use plastic fruit when you know you need to be eating real fruit?

I know fruit doesn’t last as long on your counter as it would in your fridge—but that’s the point. If it’s on your counter and you see it, you will tend to eat it before it goes bad. If you keep fruit out of site, it’s also out mind. If you keep fruit on your counter, you will more likely have a piece when you want a snack.

At our house, we have a two-tiered stand where we always have bananas, oranges, apples, and sometimes pears sitting out.

Never Leave Your House Without Taking a Piece of Fruit with You

Everyone’s had a snack attack: that point between meals where you get so hungry you feel like you might die if you don’t eat something right away. Not if, but when, that happens, you need to have something good to serve that task. Fruit is a perfect choice (nuts work great, too, but that’s a different blog post).

The great thing about apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, and pears—they come with their own edible packaging (except for bananas; and yes, you can eat orange peels). I guess this makes these fruits the original Grab-N-Go. And if you want something in a small box that will fit in your purse, raisins are a great option.

Let’s face it, a lot of folks get hungry at the checkout lines and grab a king size candy bar on the way out the door. If that wasn’t the case, stores wouldn’t stock all those candy bars there. It’s a lot easier to say “no,” when you have an apple waiting in your car.

Substitute a Bowl of Fruit for Fries

One of my favorite things to order in a restaurant is a burger wrapped in lettuce, but it almost always comes with fries. I ask if they can substitute fruit or a salad for the fries. Most restaurants are happy to do that. And if they want to charge extra, pay it—it’s worth it.

Order a Bowl of Fruit Instead of Desert

So, you’re trying to lose weight and you go to a restaurant with friends. Then there’s that awkward moment when everyone orders desert. You don’t want to feel left out. Order a bowl of fruit. You’ll feel good about the decision, and you may even start a conversation about your weight loss journey. Even better—you may inspire your friends to choose fruit for desert next time.

Go to a Farmer’s Markets or Pick Your Own

The best fruit to eat is locally grown: it’s the freshest, it typically has the most nutrients, and it tastes the best. I would pick (pun intended) locally grown over organic grocery store fruit any day. Check out this list of farmers markets in the Indianapolis area to find the freshest fruit in town.

Remember: eating a couple of servings of fruit a day is one of the best things you can do to help you lose weight and stay healthy. So, grab a bowl of berries and dig in, and don’t leave home without a piece of fruit.

Stay Strong,

Bo Railey