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Welcome to Badges: Fruit

February 28, 2020
Welcome to Badges: Fruit | Is Fruit Healthy? - Lark Health

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Daily minimum for a green badge: 240 grams (about 2 cups)

Meal minimum for a green badge: 80 grams (about 2/3 cup)

Is fruit healthy?

Most types of fruit are rich in nutrients such as dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C, and phytochemicals. They are nearly fat-free.

Though fruit tends to be high in carbohydrates and low in protein, people who include fruit regularly tend to have lower body weights and lower risk for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart disease.

Choosing fruits for green badges

Fresh fruit is the best choice, when possible. A colorful range of all kinds of fruit gives you a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Examples include:

  • Apples, pears, bananas
  • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes
  • Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew melon
  • Oranges, grapefruits, tangerines
  • Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots
  • Kiwis, mangos, papaya

Frozen fruit is the next-best option as long as it has no added sugars listed in the list of ingredients. Canned fruit is highly processed, and fruit juice has little to no fiber, and a lot of calories. Dried fruit is also high in calories per serving, with a 1/2-cup of raisins containing 260 calories compared to 50 calories in a 1/2-cup of grapes.

Apple, strawberry, and other fruit pies do not count as fruits. Neither do jam, jelly, and preserves. They have more added sugar than fruit and are processed enough to remove most of the beneficial nutrients.

Tips for getting plenty of nutritious fruit

Getting more fruit is an easy way to earn badges in the lark app!

  • Keeping fruit ready to eat and within reach makes it easier to eat, so it makes sense to wash some, cut it (if needed), and leave it somewhere visible to you remember to eat it.
  • Berries are lowest in calories and carbs, so are good choices for weight loss and blood sugar control.
  • Citrus fruit is also low-glycemic and a good choice for controlling blood sugar.
  • Eating frozen fruit, such as berries, peaches, and mangos, can be a good way to increase variety, stock up during sales, and get out-of-season fruit. Just read the ingredients to make sure there is no added sugar.
  • Fruit can be an alternative to dessert or a sugary snack that is lower in calories, free from added sugars, and more filling.
  • Having fruit with a source of protein and/or healthy fat can lower its impact on blood sugar.
  • Smoothies can be a tool to increase fruit amount and variety, but they tend to be higher in calories and less filling than whole fruits.
  • Fresh fruit can go into salads, wraps, and sandwiches.

Ideas for Using Fruit

Plain fruit is naturally delicious, but here are even more ways to enjoy fruit and earn badges from your lark coach.

  • Cut bananas into chunks, freeze them, and puree them to make an ice cream substitute with no added sugar, no cholesterol, and no saturated fat. It is great plain, or you can added flavorings such as vanilla extract, unsweetened cocoa powder (baking cocoa), or cinnamon. Berries and nuts are good add-ins. The flavor combinations are unlimited, with possibilities include pumpkin and cinnamon, cocoa and peanut butter, walnuts and cinnamon. 
  • Bake or stew apple or pear slices with cinnamon to save 300 calories compared to a slice of apple pie. For a whole-grain bonus, top your dessert with toasted oats.
  • Mix chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, cucumber, and lime juice with chopped mango, watermelon, or pears to make fruit salsa that you can use instead of regular salsa.
  • Grill pineapple slices and peach halves to serve instead of brownies at a cookout.
  • Cut an apple into round slices, spread one with peanut or almond butter, top it with another, and you have a grain-free peanut butter sandwich.
  • Make coleslaw with shredded cabbage and carrots (a bagged coleslaw mix works well), grated apple, (optional) diced onion, olive oil, rice vinegar, caraway seed, and black pepper. Add plain yogurt or Greek yogurt to make it creamy. You can turn it into a main course by adding cooked, cubed chicken breast.
  • Rethink pizza by adding fruit to a whole-grain crust and baking it. Possible combinations include blue cheese with pears and walnuts, or raspberries with balsamic vinaigrette, parmesan cheese, and tomatoes. Sunflower seeds and strawberries atop cottage cheese on a whole-grain English muffin can be a good breakfast pizza.

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