By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
May is the beginning of a warm and wonderful season here in the Northeastern part of the United States and it’s also National Strawberry Month; so to start of this vibrant month we want to highlight this bright, colorful, and healthful seasonal fruit. Strawberries are often highlighted for their rich source of nutrition, antioxidants, and their versatility in cooking, making smoothies, and juicing.
6 Reasons to include more strawberries in your everyday life…
1.) Source of antioxidants: Strawberries, along with other berries are often touted as a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are commonly found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, and provide protection for our cells against cancer-causing damage. To provide the maximum nutrition to your body, you should aim to vary the colors of fruits and vegetables that you eat or drink everyday to include produce of all different colors.
2.) Immune boosting: Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient which can help to promote a healthy immune system.
3.) Heart-healthy: Strawberries along with other fruits and vegetables are a great source of potassium. Potassium is an important nutrient for our bodies for many reasons, one of which includes helping to promote healthy blood pressure.
4.) Lower in sugar: For many of us conscious of blood sugar, berries are a great fruit choice as they are naturally lower in sugar, which may prevent blood sugar spikes. In addition, they are great when added to juices and smoothies because they add a slight hint of sweet.
5.) Lower in calories: Another reason strawberries are great, is that they are relatively lower in calories than other fruits, at only 4 calories per medium-sized strawberry.
6.) Good for your skin: Vitamin C isn’t only great for boosting digestion and for promoting a healthy immune system, it’s also great for skin health, as it also acts as an antioxidant that can help prevent damage to your skin.
10 ways to use strawberries in your kitchen…
1.) Flavor Your Water Naturally: Slice a few strawberries (3-4) and add to a large jug of water in your refrigerator that you will pour smaller glasses from. This way your water will have a nice, natural strawberry flavor. You can also try adding other fruits or vegetables like cucumber to naturally flavor your water as well.
2.) Blend in your smoothie: Add fresh or frozen strawberries to your next smoothie concoction for added flavor, vitamin C, antioxidants, and vibrant color. Try making up your own smoothie recipe or see some of our favorites below.
3.) Add as an ingredient in your juice: Strawberries add a nice and light sweetness to juices when added with other vegetables. Unlike apples, oranges or some other fruits, strawberries add just a slight sweetness and can be a great substitution for other fruits when being cautious for high blood sugar.
4.) Bake with other fruits and mixed nuts for a healthy and balanced dessert: Check out one of our favorite fruit bake recipes!
5.) Cook them with fruits like rhubarb for a healthy fruit compote.
6.) Mash and spread onto sprouted bread for an all-natural strawberry jam.
7.) Naturally flavor your coconut water: Similar to the tips for boosting water flavor, you can add fresh strawberries to your coconut water for added flavor.
8.) Strawberry-flavored ice cubes: Chop 3-4 strawberries up into small, cube-like pieces and add to your ice tray (1-2 pieces each cube) before freezing. When you use them they’ll be colorful and will melt to add a nice flavor to your beverage.
9.) Add to a salad for extra color and flavor: Simply slice up a few strawberries to add as a garnish or as a main ingredient to a green or a fruit salad.
10.) Add to your morning hot cereal: Adding strawberries while cooking your hot cereal, (oatmeal, quinoa, or teff) or adding afterward as a garnish is a great way to add extra nutrition and flavor to your morning meal. Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants and can help to rev your body up for a healthy day.
Some all-time favorite strawberry recipes…
Strawberry Chia Pudding
Strawberry Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream
Strawberry Coconut Shake
Green Strawberry Juice
Strawberry Date Smoothie