It's common knowledge that fresh fruits are good for you, but the nutritional information about those fruits isn't as widely available. Whether you're watching your weight or just want to know more about the calories, vitamins and minerals you're taking in, it's helpful to learn about the nutritional profile of any fruit salad.
The number of calories in your fruit salad depends on what types of fruits you're munching on and how big of a serving you eat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of fruit has 46 calories if it's watermelon; 53 calories for strawberries; 84 calories, blueberries; 57 calories, apples; 134 calories, bananas; 81 calories, oranges; and 87 calories, cherries. That means a cup of fresh fruit salad with various types mixed together contains an average of about 77 calories. In contrast, 1 cup of canned fruit salad has about 125 calories.
Fill 'er Up
Fresh fruits have low energy-density levels, which means they have high vitamin, mineral and fiber amounts per serving but low calorie counts. In general, the more fiber a certain food contains, the more filling it will be. Foods with lots of fiber take more time to chew and swallow and break down more slowly in the body, helping to stave off hunger pangs. A cup of canned fruit salad has just 2.5 grams of fiber, but 1 cup of almost any fresh fruit except watermelon has more fiber than that, making fresh fruit the more filling and nutritionally superior choice.
Fruit Salad Nutrients
Eating fresh fruit salads regularly, as part of a well-balanced diet, can help lower your risk of chronic diseases. The USDA reports that the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in fresh fruits can cut the risk of cancer, obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, bone loss and cardiovascular conditions like heart attack and stroke. In a 1-cup bowl of fruit salad made from 1/4 cup of bananas, 1/4 cup of cantaloupe, 1/4 cup of blueberries and 1/4 cup of apples, you'll get about 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 300 milligrams of potassium, 30 milligrams of vitamin C and 70 micrograms of vitamin A.
Although fresh fruit salad has a bundle of nutritional benefits, it should be eaten in moderation. According to CNN.com nutrition specialist Dr. Melina Jampolis, fruits have about three times the calorie count per serving as most vegetables, so they can cause unwanted weight gain if you eat significant amounts of them. Fruits are also higher in sugar than most veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. As long as you stick to about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of fruit per day, however, you're probably not at risk of gaining weight from fruit. If you do have any concerns about fitting fruit salad into your diet, discuss them with your doctor.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: The Effect of Fiber on Satiety and Food Intake – A Systematic Review
- CNN.com: What Exactly Does Fiber Do?
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Eat Fruit?
- CNN.com: Can Eating Too Much Fruit Keep Me from Losing Weight?
- Providence Health & Services: Can a Person Eat Too Much Fruit?
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory