From April through September, blueberries are grown throughout the United States with the peak of the season in June and July. Since I was a little girl, these juicy, plump berries have always been a special favorite of mine for their ease of cleaning and preparation- all you need to do is rinse thoroughly, no cutting involved! I still look forward to the summertime for the exact reason that I can give up my frozen blueberries for a few months and switch to the fresh variety instead.
Blueberries are filled with phytochemicals, such as antioxidants, that help the body to prevent free radicals from damaging our cells, and one cup of fat-free blueberries has approximately 80 calories and 4 grams fiber. Take advantage of them while they are in-season, and check out these suggestions for some of the best ways to eat fresh blueberries (other than just popping them in your mouth):
1. Top your cereal or oatmeal.
Spoon some blueberries onto your morning bowl of cereal or oatmeal before adding some milk or soymilk, and you have yourself a breakfast containing just the right amount of protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
2. Sweeten up your salad.
Toss fresh blueberries into your next salad to contribute a refreshing sweetness, which should reduce the need for large portions of salad dressing. By cutting back the amount of dressing to a 2 tablespoon serving or less, you also lower consumption of calories, fat, and sodium.
3. Fold into your whole grain pancake or muffin batter.
There is no better feeling than cutting into fresh blueberry pancakes when the warm blueberries are still oozing with flavor. The same goes with blueberry muffins. The natural sweetness of blueberries should also help you to reduce the amount of sugar and maple syrup needed to cook and enjoy the recipe, which means fewer calories and added sugars going into your body!
4. Make a healthy fruit and yogurt parfait.
Layer blueberries with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, and top with 1/3 cup Kashi GoLean Crunch or Crisp whole grain cereal. By choosing this crunchy, sweet Kashi cereal instead of topping your parfait with granola, you decrease the amount of calories, sugar, and fat that you are putting into your body, and you gain some additional protein as these Kashi cereals pack 7-11 grams per 1 cup serving.
5. Create a zesty blueberry salsa.
Salsa is a flavorful, low calorie topping that is perfect for anyone who is trying to maintain a healthy body weight. The sweet blueberries mixed with the heat of jalapeno peppers will delight your taste buds. Serve over grilled tofu or salmon, alongside corn tortilla chips, or on top of a salad.