Blueberries Will Travel

Finally, blueberries are ready for the road.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

 

A sample of Naturipe® blueberry packets arrived on my doorstep just in time. We’re entering the fall frenzy when over-tasked schedules challenge healthy eating efforts.

 

Ideal for back-to-school lunches and snacks, I tried an “extended usage” of these ready-to-eat blueberries. Into my blender went an entire 3-pack of Naturipe blueberries (about 1 cup) along with Greek yogurt and one-half of a frozen sliced banana. In less than 60 seconds I had a good-for-me breakfast smoothie-to-go.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

 

 

It is easy to envision more tasty opportunities for these sturdy containers of berries. After years of packing my kids’ lunches I know the value of small conveniences to streamline this daily drill for time-pressed parents who want their children to eat well.

 

Little ones who favor the word “mine” will like their very own package of cute berries with a just-right, 1/3 cup (1.25 ounce), serving. But why limit them to young children? The no-crush package means you can tuck two or three in an older child’s backpack, a teen’s sports bag or your own briefcase. Better yet, solve the “good parents” dilemma of bringing a fun yet healthful post-game snack for your child’s team with Naturipe® blueberry packs.

 

What is the blueberry nutrition story? These little orbs supply key nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber and health-promoting phytochemicals. The anthocyanin pigments that give blueberries their gorgeous color are powerful antioxidants that may help fight cancer and protect against heart disease (References 1, 2).

 

Children aged 2 to 18 are eating more fruit and less juice but intake is still low compared to recommendations, according to a Vital Signs report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Reference 3). Sixty percent of children did not eat enough fruit to meet daily recommendations and 93 percent of children didn’t eat enough vegetables in the period studied, 2007-2010.

 

Moms know that good health is a reason to eat fruits and vegetables according to a report by the Produce for Better Health Foundation (Reference 4). This report also cites research suggesting that almost 90% of fruit (and 75% of vegetables) are consumed in the home. With as much time as we spend at school, work, and road-tripping to other activities, produce that is packable can make it easier to consume the amounts needed for good health.

 

 

How much is needed? Recommendations range from 1 to 2 cups for fruit and 1to 3 cups for vegetables, depending on the child’s age, gender and activity. Adults on a reference 2000 calorie diet should aim for 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily(Reference 4, 5).

 

Making sure people focus on fruits and veggies stems from the growing body of evidence that produce consumption is protective against cardiovascular disease, some cancers, type II diabetes and obesity (Reference 6). myplate_magentaThe MyPlate graphic and nutrition recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture, specifies that fruits and vegetables should comprise half of each meal.

 

Research shows that food preferences are established in early childhood (Reference 7) so exposing children to produce at meals and snacks can go a long way toward establishing good nutrition habits that last a lifetime.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

A treat on their own, blueberries can be used for easy edible activities that appeal to all ages: anchor blueberries onto a graham cracker with a smear of light whipped cream cheese.

 

Did you pack your blueberries today?

 

Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by Naturipe®.

 

REFERENCES
1. Berries, by Kerry Neville. Food & Nutrition magazine, May/June 2014, p. 20-21.

2. Purple Power. American Institute for Cancer Research. http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11037

3. August 2014 Vital Signs Issue: Progress on Children Eating More Fruit, Not Vegetables. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/

4. State of The Plate, 2010 Study of America’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables, Produce for Better Health Foundation http://www.pbhfoundation.org/pdfs/about/res/pbh_res/stateplate.pdf

5. Children eating more fruit, but fruit and vegetable intake still too low. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Newsroom Press Release: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0805-fruits-vegetables.html

6. Understand the Behavioral Linkages Needed for Designing Effective Interventions to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Diverse Populations. Tom Baranowski, PhD. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, October 2011. 1472-1475.

7. Trends in Dietary Intake among US 2-6-Year-Old Children, 1989-2008. Christopher N. Ford, MPH; Meghan M. Slining, PhD; Barry M Popkin, PhD. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, January 2013. P. 35-42.

© 2014 Lorelle Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

Comments

  1. Martha Marino says:

    Love all the practical suggestions – I hadn’t known about Naturipe blueberries in the individual packs. Perfect for a sack lunch or snack without worrying about smooshing those nutritious little berries.

  2. Gary Christopher says:

    Another great idea Lorelle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Convenient, affordable, very healthy, good taste & travels well with good shelf life…

    • This is a well-written, interesting and factual blog on the benefits of blueberries to go! What a great concept for both children and adults–happy to know about it. I will recommend these portable and nutritious gems to my clients, friends and family.

  3. Enjoyed the article with lots of interesting facts. I will be on the lookout for the packs to put in lunches. Great idea!

  4. Blueberries are amazing!

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