Fruit contains carbohydrate so you need to count it as part of your meal plan. Having a piece of fresh fruit or fruit salad for dessert is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get the extra nutrition you're looking for.
What are the best choices?
The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars.
- If choosing canned fruit, look for words like "packed in its own juices," "unsweetened" or "no added sugar."
- Dried fruit and 100% fruit juice are also nutritious choices, but the portion sizes are small so they may not be as filling as other choices.
For carbohydrate counters
A small piece of whole fruit or about ½ cup of frozen or canned fruit has about 15 grams of carbohydrate. Servings for most fresh berries and melons are from ¾–1 cup. Fruit juice can range from ⅓–½ cup for 15 grams of carbohydrate.
Only two tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins or dried cherries contains 15 grams of carbohydrate so be cautious with your portion sizes!
Fruit can be eaten in exchange for other sources of carbohydrate in your meal plan such as starches, grains or dairy.
For plate method
If using the plate method, having a small piece of whole fruit or a ½ cup of fruit salad for dessert is a great complement to the non-starchy vegetables, small portion of starch and protein foods that are on your plate.
For using the glycemic index
Most fruits have a low glycemic index (GI) because of their fructose and fiber content. Melons and pineapple have medium GI values as do some dried fruits such as dates, raisins and sweetened cranberries.
Overall, fruit is encouraged when using the glycemic index to guide food choices—so enjoy.
The following is a list of common fruits:
Apples | Apricots | Avocado | Banana | Blackberries | Blueberries | Cantaloupe | Cherries | Grapefruit | Grapes | Honeydew melon | Kiwi | Mango | Nectarine | Orange | Papaya | Peaches | Pears | Pineapple | Plums | Raspberries | Strawberries | Tangerines | Watermelon
This also includes dried fruit such as:
Cherries | Cranberries | Dates | Figs | Prunes | Raisins