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3 Fresh & Fruity Treats That Are Packed With Nutrients

With spring in bloom and summer just around the corner, healthy eating is top of mind for many people. Whether you're looking to shape up for summer or simply fuel your body with good nutrition, this is a great time of year to turn to the flavors of the season to support good health.

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As a registered dietitian, I counsel patients on the importance of good nutrition and share simple strategies for making easy-to-fix recipes that have minimal ingredients yet are packed with powerful nutrients. Here are a few fresh-and-fruity treats that are perfect for sunny days.

Overnight Raspberry Icebox Oatmeal
Prep time:
5 minutes
Yield: 1 serving

The oats in this recipe offer a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates, which provide energy and are high in nutrient density, containing fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties.

Ingredients
1/4 cup of uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup of skim milk
1/4 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons of chia seeds
2 teaspoons of honey (more or less to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries

Directions
1. In a half-pint (one cup) jar or bowl, combine the oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds and honey. If in a jar, put the lid on and shake until well combined; if in a bowl, stir until well combined.

2. Add the raspberries and stir until mixed.

3. Return the lid to the jar or cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or up to two days. Eat chilled.

Per serving: calories 315 grams (39 grams from fat); fat 14 grams (2 grams saturated); cholesterol 5 milligrams; sodium 63 milligrams; carbohydrate 61 grams (6 grams dietary fiber); protein 12 grams.

Vary It! This recipe can be modified to incorporate any fruit you like. You can also consider adding nut butter or flaxseed oil to get more nutrients.

Pomegranate Antioxidant Smoothie
Prep time
: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Eating pomegranates is a great way to fuel your body with an assortment of phytochemicals. Including antioxidants in your diet is important because they can prevent or slow down cell damage. 

Ingredients
8 ounces of pomegranate juice
1/4 cup of strawberries
1/4 cup of blackberries
1/4 cup of blood orange, peeled
1/2 cup of blueberry yogurt
1 cup of crushed ice
Agave nectar, pure maple syrup or honey (optional, to taste)

Directions
1. In a blender, add the pomegranate juice, strawberries, blackberries and blood orange. Cover and blend on high until the fruits are well mixed.

2. Add the yogurt and crushed ice and blend on high until the mixture is smooth.

3. Taste and add agave nectar, maple syrup or honey, if needed. Start with a tablespoon and blend again. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately.

Per serving: calories 172 (8 from fat); fat 1 gram (0 grams saturated); cholesterol 4   milligrams; sodium 38 milligrams; carbohydrate 39 grams (3 grams dietary fiber); protein 3 grams.

American Parfait
Prep time:
15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

An easy way to include lean proteins in your diet is by consuming low-fat yogurt regularly. In addition to protein, which helps maintain muscle and immune function, low-fat yogurt is also a good source of dairy, which provides your body with calcium, the mineral responsible for the development and maintenance of bones.

Ingredients
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup of raspberries
1 cup of strawberries
1/4 cup of 100-percent pineapple juice or orange juice
1 cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup of low-fat granola

Directions
1. In a large bowl, mix the blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and juice and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

2. In each of four small cups or bowls, layer a quarter-cup of the yogurt, a half-cup of the fruit mixture and two tablespoons of the granola. Serve cold.

Per serving: calories 117 (13 from fat); fat 2 grams (1 gram saturated); cholesterol 2 milligrams; sodium 34 milligrams; carbohydrate 24 grams (3 grams dietary fiber); protein 3 grams.

Tip: Granola can often be high in calories and fat. Read labels carefully to find brands low in fat and sugar.

--Carolyn

Readers -- What are your favorite fruity-treat recipes? Are you going to try any of the recipes listed above? What kinds of desserts do you like to have in the spring and ­­summer? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Carolyn Lammersfeld, M.S., RD, CSO, LD, CNSC, is the vice president of integrative medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). She has more than 20 years of experience counseling cancer patients on proper nutrition and currently oversees the unique treatment model at CTCA, which combines innovative oncology therapies with integrative oncology services in a patient-centered environment.

Carolyn co-authored the book Cancer Nutrition & Recipes for Dummies, which focuses on recipes and ingredients that may help ward off illness and strengthen the body.

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