Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nice Melons

One of the hardest parts of transitioning from the modern American diet to a whole foods, plant-based diet, is figuring out what to eat for breakfast.  Without your go-to:  eggs, bacon, biscuits, and sausage, what's a girl (or guy) to eat for the most important meal of the day?  Fresh fruit has become one of my favorite alternatives .  I'm going to share a few tips for slicing and dicing to make the preparation process as quick and painless as possible as well as a few facts about some of my favorite breakfast treats.

A few fruits that I always have on hand:  bananas, apples, grapefruits, and oranges.

My "FRUIT" drawer is ALWAYS stocked with these.  Bananas are a great source of potassium and Vitamin B6.*  Oranges and grapefruits are a great source of Vitamin C and apples are a great source of quercetin, an antioxidant that fights disorders such as asthma and cancer.

In addition to these staples, I usually have several other fruits prepared to munch on for breakfast or as snacks throughout the week.  My favorites include:  watermelon ( also a source of vitamin B6 and is crazy refreshing this time of year), cantaloupe, pineapple, blueberries, and... usually one or two other fruits that are in season such as cranberries, strawberries, or mangos.

Now, I know what you must be thinking, "Man alive, that's a LOT of fruit!"  Well, yeah.  It kind of is but, remember - you don't have to have all of these at the same time.  You do however want to make sure you have enough available and enough variety so that you feel full and satisfied after your meal.


Watermelon - Cut melon into manageable sized wedges.  With wedge in hand, slice vertically and  horizontally across fruit, creating pieces.  With a serrated knife, begin moving back and forth removing the flesh from the rind (the inedible, green skin of the watermelon) allowing the pieces to fall into whatever container you intend to store the fruit in.
Cantaloupe* - preparation is similar to watermelon with the exception of the removing of the seeds.  All you need to do before you start dicing the fruit is take a large spoon, scoop out, and discard the seeds.  I like to use a tool from my pumpkin carving kit.  It really  just works soooo well and I like to keep my scooping skills honed for pumpkin season. :)
Pineapple - probably the trickiest and most intimidating of the three.  With pineapple, start by cutting off both ends and then just pick a spot to start chiseling.  With pineapple, really, practice makes perfect.  You just have to keep cutting away, one strip at a time, until you get all the way around the fruit making sure that you get all the little, black, seed pods that are set in the skin.  It does take a bit of effort but the reward is so very sweet!

Once you've diced everything up, you'll have an ample supply of fresh fruits to choose from for your entire morning meal or as a refreshing side.

Okay.  I hope your taste buds are adequately tantalized from all the juicy photos.  Let me know what your favorite fruit is and how you like to incorporate it in your daily diet.  I mean really, when food looks this good, it just has to be good for you.

*Many women are deficient in this vitamin B6 so ladies take special note:  if you're a fan of the bah-nan, then eat up!  We need em'!  One medium banana also contains about  1/4th the daily recommended intake of potassium we need (about 2000mg).  Bananas are available all year round.  They're beautiful and painlessly easy to peel and eat so, there is really no reason you should not be able to incorporate them into a well balanced diet.  (One of my absolute, ALL-TIME-FAVORITE snacks is banana and peanut butter; just make sure you note the serving size on your peanut butter as it is typically relatively high in calories and fat)
*Cantaloupe is one of those amazingly nutritious foods that offers a variety of health benefits in every bite.  It's a great source of beta-carotene, which our bodies use to produce Vitamin A.  It's also a good source of Vitamin C and Potassium.  Up until recently, I really did not like the taste of cantaloupe.  I was always kind of annoyed when it took up a lot of space in a fruit salad.  But, surprisingly... now, I seriously cannot get enough of the stuff!  Apparently your taste buds change every 5 to 7 years... seriously... Google it.  So even if you had an aversion to certain foodS or fruits before, maybe it's time to try them again.  When it comes to the cantaloupe, the health benefits are so numerous and varied, it definitely worth a try.

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