You know your family is supposed to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat the same ones over and over. While apples, grapes and bananas are staples of American fruit consumption, there are many other fruits for your family to try.
By: Kristen Castillo
Sample a variety of fruits in different colors, textures and tastes from sweet to tangy to sour. While you may have to buy them at specialty stores or ethnic grocers, these exotic fruits are worth the try!
This very colorful fruit is native to Southeast Asia, South America, Israel and Mexico. Available year-round, dragon fruit’s exterior is bright pink and the interior is white with black seeds. Red dragon fruit, available June through October, has a red exterior with a deep pink/red interior with black seeds.
Also known as pitaya, dragon fruit is part of the cactus family and tastes like kiwi or melon. Cut dragon fruit and eat it by itself or add it to a salsa, smoothies or a mix of other fruits. It’s bursting with vitamin C. Be careful, though – this fruit can stain your fingers and clothes!
The largest fruit in the world, jackfruit
(which can grow to be up to 100 pounds!) is tart, yet sweet, and commonly compared to bananas. Some people say young jackfruit tastes like and has the texture of pulled pork. Native to Southwest Asia, jackfruit has lots of nutritional value, too, including protein, iron, fiber and calcium. The kids will definitely get a kick out of seeing a whole jackfruit.
Carambola, better known as starfruit, is native to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Nepal. In the U.S., it’s grown in Florida
, a great place for the fruit to thrive since it likes full sun and no frost. Kids will like this fruit for its appearance alone – when sliced, the yellow fruit is shaped like a star. Starfruit’s flavor is often compared to citrus, plums and apples.
Also known as a Chinese grapefruit, the pomelo is an exotic citrus fruit. It has a bumpy texture and is greenish-yellow on the outside and pink on the inside. Eat it like a grapefruit or use it to make jams, jellies and syrup.
Pomelos are a lot bigger than a standard grapefruit – they range from cantaloupe size to watermelon. Among its nutritional attributes, the fruit has lots of vitamin C and potassium. Grown in China, Japan and Thailand as well as in California and Florida, pomelos are popular for Chinese New Year, as they’re believed to be good luck.
A green tropical fruit, soursop, also known as graviola or Guanabana, is popular in South America, where it’s produced. Grown on trees, each fruit can be as large as 12 inches. It’s exterior is prickly, but the interior is sweet like pineapple and strawberries. The fruit is packed with vitamin C, calcium and many B vitamins. Soursop is frequently served in drinks, ice creams and other treats. The fruit may help relieve stomach discomfort, inflammation and fever.
Try something new this week with one of these more unusual fruits that can add variety, nutrition and flavor to your diet.
When eating out, aim to make half your meal fruits and vegetables to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle even away from home. These choices, recommended by Healthy Dining's dietitians, make it easy.