By Jessica Jones, MS, RD, CDE and Wendy Lopez, MS, RD, CDE of Food Heaven Made Easy in partnership with the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
As outpatient Registered Dietitians, we counsel hundreds of patients on how to improve their diets and overall health. Many come to us with questions on how they can prevent chronic disease, gain energy and feel great.
We’ve boiled down our four years of scientific nutrition training into five simple words: eat more plant-based foods.
That’s it. Nothing complicated, nothing scientific, nothing you wouldn’t be able to sustain for life.
Eating more fruits and vegetables translates into eating more fiber. And research suggests that diets rich in fiber can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, help us feel full, aid in digestion, promote regularity, and reduce the risk of some types of cancers.
One of our favorite plant-based foods we recommend to help meet daily fiber intake is blueberries. These little blue dynamos are both healthy and delicious, and put the “super” in super food. In addition to being a good source of fiber, they’re also packed with vitamin C. One serving – which is 1 cup or about a handful – contains only 80 calories and is naturally low in fat and sodium.
Ready to add more blueberries into your diet?
Here are 7 simple ways to eat more blueberries this summer:
Adding blueberries to your smoothie is a convenient way to eat more nutritiously. To make your smoothie balanced, we always recommend adding about 2 cups of vegetables for every 1 cup of fruit. If you are enjoying a smoothie as a meal (instead of a snack), balance it out with a serving of protein (Greek yogurt, protein powder, peanut butter or nut butter) and healthy fat (avocado, nuts, chia seed, flax seeds and nuts). Here is one of our favorite blueberry smoothie bowl recipes.
Salads may not be one of the first places you think to add blueberries, but we’d like you to reconsider. Blueberries add a subtle sweetness to any salad while boosting the nutrition simultaneously. Needs some inspo? Try these Blueberry Almond Chicken Salad Wraps or this Summer Fruit Salad with Jalapeno Mint & Lime. Or, if you are looking for a blue twist to a traditional store bought dressing, this Blueberry Balsamic Dressing will do the trick.
Frozen blueberries a good source of fiber, contain 3.9 mg vitamin C and are only 80 calories per cup. Many people don’t realize that frozen blueberries are picked at the peak of freshness and individually quick frozen through a process known as “IQF”. This helps to preserve their taste, durability and nutritional components. Enjoy frozen blueberries in a delicious “nice” cream, crumbles or on their own.
We love adding blueberries to plain yogurt to perk up the flavor. If you are wondering which type of yogurt is best, we typically recommend the plain Greek variation, because it has double the protein and half of the sugar, compared to its traditional counterpart. If you want to spice up your yogurt even further, incorporate blueberries into a yogurt or coconut bark. Here is a vegan version that will blow your taste buds away.
With Whipped Cream
If you haven’t been eating blueberries with unsweetened whipped cream and sliced almonds for dessert, you should be. This is one of our favorite healthy desserts to recommend to our patients because it tastes fantastic and is super good for you. For our vegan friends, we recommend finding an unsweetened coconut whipped cream option. You can make it yourself or grab it from the freezer section of your local health food grocery.
In Ice Cubes
One easy way to add a bang to any party is to make blueberry ice cubes. It literally takes 3 seconds and guests are always impressed. All you do is add 2-3 blueberries into each cube and then fill the tray with water. Freeze them up and when the blueberries melt, guest are left with a sweet treat at the bottom of their glass.
With Oatmeal & Cereal
Adding blueberries to your favorite oatmeal or cereal is a quick and easy way to eat a serving of fruit and boost your fiber intake. When adding blueberries to oatmeal, we like to cook them down on the stovetop first, and mix in a little bit of lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla (see below) before topping onto the oats. This gives the oats a blueberry pie flavor that you will love.
So, there you have it…7 simple ways to add more blueberries into your life. Looking forward to trying any of these? Post and tag #BlueberryLife to let us know what you plan on whipping up!