By Rachel Rothman, MS, RD
Great question. Sugar comes in different forms. Fruits have naturally occurring sugar called fructose, or fruit sugar. Other foods may have what’s called “added sugars,” which come from sources such as table sugar (sucrose) or high fructose corn syrup, often found in sodas, candy, sweetened baked goods and other processed foods. Too much added sugar can contribute to obesity, fatigue and even tooth decay. Although fruits do contain some naturally occurring sugar, fruits also contain a multitude of health benefits and are loaded with vitamins and minerals, fiber and water, as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients. Added sugars do not provide these additional benefits. So, go ahead and eat your fruit!
MyPlate recommends you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the food group. Additionally, fruits may be whole, cut up or pureed, or frozen, fresh or dried. Just be careful your dried fruits do not have any added sugar.
Here are some ideas for a sweet treat made from fruit and without added sugar:
- Bake an apple or pear for 10-15 minutes and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Or add some oats when you bake for an apple pie-like treat.
- Take a frozen banana and mash in a blender or food processor. Add a tablespoon of peanut butter on top for a dose of healthy fats and protein.
- Top fresh berries with a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with 1 tsp of vanilla. You won’t even miss the sugar.
Do you have other healthy treats you make with fruit? Let us know in the comments below.
When eating out, order menu choices that include fruit to help get your recommended servings each day. Many Healthy Dining choices, like these, include the bright flavors and health benefits of fruit: