Summer: this foodie’s FAVORITE season! Why? One reason: the summer fruits available. I love them all: melons, berries, peaches, and lately: cherries!  (This cherry pitter I bought last year is getting a workout.) I love having a bowl of pitted cherries in the fridge to pop into my mouth anytime — like, all the time!  And check out this goof-proof cherry-lime sorbet recipe with 2 INGREDIENTS ONLY.

Sure, summer fruits are healthy — and 9 in 10 people are NOT getting enough (more about that later), but OMG are they delicious. There are tons of recipes for summer fruit desserts, but the fruits in my house get eaten long before they can be used in a recipe.

Surprise! Kids DO Love Fruit!

True story: During my decades working with kids with special needs, I collaborated with fantastic pediatric physical therapists. To keep kids active in the summer, they formed a summer “kids’ yoga” group — physical therapy, but with a yoga “slant” that motivated them to show up every week. The kids had a blast.

For the final summer session, the PTs gave the kids and parents a party to celebrate. They asked me for suggestions about snacks to offer. I suggested a variety, but pushed fresh fruit to be prominent.

Along with the whole-grain bars and pretzels, the PTs went for all “red” fruits: strawberries, raspberries, seedless red grapes, and watermelon. The hands-down favorites? Berries and watermelon! cut into big wedges the kids could pick up with their hands. I saw so many of them chowing down that melon!

        Photo: Anna Pustynnikova for iStock

The parents were flabbergasted. Among their comments:

  • “I didn’t even know he liked watermelon.”
  • “I can’t believe this. At home she only wants sweet stuff, not fruit.”

That was my teachable moment: their kids LOVE fresh fruit! The watermelon was refreshing, healthy, and low in calories. 

So, parents: SERVE IT UP! And keep the cookies, chips, empty-calorie sweets off the counter – and out of the shopping cart. 

The Money Shot: Making Fruit Budget-Friendly

Even fruits in season, like berries, peaches, and cherries (personal fave) can be pricey. Try these budget hacks to stretch your food dollar:

  •              Photo: Creative Family for iStock

    Go cold & hard! Think “iced fruit” instead of “fruit ice.” Berries, cherries, stone fruits & grapes (personal fave) all freeze well. Perfect way to preserve them, too. Bonus: No added sugar, NO SPOONS OR DISHES TO WASH, NO WASTE, and same nutrition as fresh!  Good on their own, or add to smoothies and Greek yogurt, or use like ice cubes in a glass of seltzer or water!

  • Buy “ugly”! Imperfect looking fruits are perfectly nutritious, and often less costly. They work terrifically in smoothies or mixed into yogurt. I never put beautiful whole raspberries into a recipe – they’re too luscious to be macerated! I eat those as is.
  • Eliminate competition! Use the money you save NOT buying junk snacks to buy any and all summer fruits you and your kids like. If the scene above is any indication, they’ll be all in!
  • Summer fruit = the GO-TO summer dessert. Period. Keep shortcake and cobbler for entertaining.

A Two-Fer: 1) Tastes Good & 2) PACKED With Nutrition

DYK: 7 out of 8 people are NOT getting enough fruit!  The evidence is overwhelming: eating fruit cuts MANY health risks. All fruits are nutrient-rich, so eat the ones you like. More reasons: 

  • Berries and cherries: Anti-oxidant bombs. Also loaded with vitamins C & A, and minerals. (Me? I’ll eat 1/2 this bowl with breakfast & finish as an afternoon snack!)
  • Edible peels? Eat ‘EM! Nectarines, peaches, and plums have peels that are edible and loaded with fiber and nutrients. Ditto golden kiwis. 
  • Melon for rehydration: Melons are over 90% water, AND loaded with potassium, an electrolyte you lose more when you sweat in hot summer sun. 

Pro-tip: If berries or other fruits are too tart, or seem like they need a flavor boost, add only a TEASPOON of sugar to a big bowl of sliced fruit. Sprinkle, toss, and wait about 20 minutes for a “syrup” to form. It’s amazing how sweet this tastes!

Cut-To-The-Chase Nutrition Take-away 

If there was ever a season to get the family (and yourself) eating more fresh fruit, it’s summertime. #Haveaplant every day, and #haveafruit all summer long!

Featured photo: simarik for iStock