5 ways to sneak more fruit into your diet

Do you have a hard time meeting your fruit quota for the day? Fresh, whole fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and even fiber. Most fruits contain a high water content and can be a valuable addition to any low-calorie diet. If you aren't used to eating fresh fruit on a regular basis, you can sneak fruit into your diet by tweaking a few of your usual recipes.

Here are just five ways to sneak more fruit into your diet:

#1: Tweak Baked Goods Recipes

Make those muffins, breads, cakes and cookies that much more nutritious by substituting oil and butter for bananas for pureed bananas, apple sauce, chunks of fresh fruit or even pureed prunes. Fruit-based substitutions can make many baked goods moister and will make those sweet treats much healthier.

#2: Make Fresh Fruit Salad Cups

Cut up a medley of fresh fruit that's in season and store it in small storage containers in the fridge. Add some lemon juice so that the fruit doesn't spoil within a few days. Having a stock of cut-up fruit on hand can make it easier to reach for a healthy snack at the last minute, and just seeing it ready to eat in the fridge may encourage you to eat it on a daily basis.

#3: Whip Up a Fresh Fruit Dip

Applesauce, Greek yogurt and low-fat vanilla yogurt are great base ingredients for making a fresh fruit dip. Blend these ingredients with chunks of apples, mangos, bananas and other fresh fruits to create a tasty dip you can serve with chunks of fresh fruit or angel food cake.

#4: Add Fresh Fruit to Hot Cereal

If you like to kick off your day with a bowl of granola or oatmeal, add some fresh fruit as a topping and enjoy a boost of antioxidants and nutrients first thing in the morning. Fresh fruit can serve as a natural sweetener for your favorite breakfast foods and you can enjoy a variety of different types of fruit throughout the week to keep things interesting.

#5: Drink Up

Add a fresh smoothie to your daily menu so you can get your fill of several fruits in one sitting. Smoothies made with Greek yogurt, low-fat frozen yogurt, low-sugar juices and a few cups of fresh fruit of the season can be tasty way to get a nutritious boost for the day. Add some flaxseeds or protein powder for even more health benefits.

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