When you shop for fruit, do you
usually fill your cart with the same standbys? If the answer is yes, your family
could be missing out on some of the tastiest and most nutritious fruits available!
Colorful, juicy tropical fruits
have a natural sweet flavor that kids love, according to Ximena Jimenez, MS, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics. "Exposing your child to these flavorful fruits early
in life is an easy way to increase the variety and amount of fruit they eat,"
If you haven't taken a walk on the tropical side, try these four
Mangoes are loaded with vitamin C, a nutrient that helps
wounds heal, promotes healthy gums and keeps your child's immune system strong.
One-half cup of sliced mangoes provides more than two-thirds of the vitamin C
children under 13 need per day. For an exotic afternoon snack, serve mango slices
with a pinch of sea salt and a squirt of lime. Or, whip up a batch of mango ice
pops. Simply puree fresh, ripe mangoes in a food processor, pour into ice cube
trays, insert a wooden stick and freeze for a frosty 100-percent fruit treat.
Rich in fiber, guavas can help keep your child's digestive
system in top shape. Just one medium guava boasts 3 grams of fiber. That's more
than you'd get from a half-cup of cooked brown rice or a small slice of whole-wheat
bread. For an even bigger fiber boost, puree whole guavas with the skin on in
shakes, smoothies and juices.
"You may think they're a vegetable, but creamy avocados
are actually an incredibly versatile fruit," says Jimenez. With heart-friendly
nutrients like monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, avocados are a smart pick for
cardiovascular health. Try them at breakfast for a new spin on "birds in a nest."
Break one whole egg into half a pitted avocado and bake for 20 minutes in a 425°F
oven. Serve with a spoonful of your favorite salsa.
In addition to being rich in vitamin A, these pink-orange fruits provide an
especially potent form of beta-carotene for healthy skin and eyes. In fact, the
form of beta-carotene in papayas is three times easier for our bodies to use
than the kind in carrots or tomatoes, according to a 2013 British Journal of Nutrition study. Because beta-carotene requires
fat for optimal absorption, pair papaya with avocados and chopped fresh mint in
a sweet yet savory salad.