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The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

High in vitamin C and antioxidants yet low in fat and calories, it’s hard to beat succulent strawberries for breakfast, puds or snacks

DON’T JUST DROWN your strawberries in cream. Why not try these lower-fat (and more interesting) ways to enjoy them while they’re at their juicy and perfectly ripe best?

1. Simple berry burst sauce

In a blender, whizz 300g strawberries for 15–20 sec to make a rich sauce. Delicious drizzled over low-fat natural yogurt or served with a scoop of low-fat ice cream.

2. Cheesy cracker combo

Serve sliced strawberries on a bed of crackers spread with light cream cheese. Not quite cheese, not exactly dessert – but if you’re a fan of cheesecake, we reckon this ticks all the flavour boxes!

3. Strawberry slushie

Halve 250g hulled strawberries, cube 2 mangoes, quarter 2 peaches, and chop 2 bananas and ¼ of a watermelon (deseeded). Put all the fruit on to a plastic tray in the freezer for 2 hr or until the fruit is solid. Blitz in a blender, then add 250ml fresh orange juice, 2tbsp lemon juice and 2tbsp honey, and whizz.

4 Fruity cheese platter

For a tapas-style cheese platter, serve sliced strawberries alongside slivers of Manchego cheese and sprinkle with a few crushed nuts.

WHAT’S IN YOUR PUNNET?

HFG nutrition consultant Juliette Kellow analyses what you’ll get from an 80g serving of strawberries (around seven berries):
• Just 22 calories. In contrast, a small banana contains around 75 calories
• Less than 0.1g fat
• 4.8g natural sugars – much less than an apple, which contains around 12g
• 62mg vitamin C – that’s more than the recommended daily amount of 40mg and more than that contained in the equivalent weight of fresh oranges
• 128mg potassium, important for helping to keep blood pressure stable
• Antioxidants, measured by Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), which for strawberries is very high. As well as vitamin C, they also contain health-promoting flavonoids and ellagic acid.

5. Strawberry salsa

A zesty strawberry salsa is a great accompaniment to barbecued meats. Chop 250g hulled strawberries into small chunks, add 1 finely sliced chilli, 1tbsp chopped mint and the juice of 1 lime. Leave to infuse for 30 min, then serve.

6. Antioxidant-rich dessert

This traditional French dessert recipe is brimming with antioxidants. Cut hulled strawberries in half and put in a serving bowl. Pour over just enough light red wine (such as Beaujolais) to cover the fruit and leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour or so. As an optional extra, coarsely grind some black pepper over just before serving.

7. Breakfast treat

For an indulgent-tasting breakfast or brunch treat, add 100g hulled and chopped strawberries to a bowl of pancake batter made from 150g plain flour, 2 medium eggs and 200ml skimmed milk.

8. Sweet kebabs

Thread slices of melon, kiwi, peach and strawberry on to metal skewers. Barbecue over hot coals for 5 min, turning occasionally. Serve alongside low-fat natural or vanilla yogurt for dipping.

9. Fruity chocolate hit

Melt 250g dark chocolate in a bowl placed over a gently simmering pan of water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Lightly toast 100g shelled, unsalted pistachios in a dry frying pan, then chop into small pieces. Hull 500g strawberries and thread on to cocktail sticks. Dip each one into the chocolate, then roll in the nuts. Lay on a platter until the chocolate sets, then serve.

10. Exotic fruit salad

Toast 150g shelled, unsalted pistachios until golden, then finely chop. Slice 2 mangoes and 2 peaches and gently combine with 200g hulled and sliced strawberries. Pour over a small glass of Marsala, sweet sherry or 4tbsp rosewater, and top with the pistachios.

LITTLE STRAWBERRY FACTS

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside – each berry has around 200.
  • The ripening process stops as soon as they’re picked.
  • If left in extreme heat or cut long before they’re eaten, they lose a large amount of their vitamin C.