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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.

Spring may be a breath away, but while waiting for the first batch of home-grown crops, fill your fruit bowl with pineapple, grapefruit and bananas

 

Pineapple

The juicy flesh is a true healthy eater’s friend, retaining nutrients long after being chopped.

Nutritional reasons to buy
One portion of your five-a-day: 1 large slice.

It’s a source of manganese and vitamin C. Even after the skin is removed and the flesh cut into chunks, it will keep for several days without the nutrients being destroyed (one study showed only 10% of the vitamin C was lost after six days in the fridge). Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, enzymes that aid digestion and improve inflammation when taken in supplement form, although more research is needed to see if eating fresh pineapple has the same effect.

Nutritional information per 80g serving: 33kcal, 8.1g sugars, 1.3g fibre

In the kitchen
CHARGRILL wedges until caramelised to serve with low-fat ice cream.
CRUSH chunks with Cajun spice for a zingy salsa for lamb or pork.
MIX chunks with tinned tuna, curry paste and yogurt for a sandwich filler.
pineapple

Grapefruit

Sweet, juicy and with a distinctive tang, the largest member of the citrus clan is good for more than the breakfast table.

Nutritional reasons to buy
One portion of your five-a-day: ½ grapefruit

With one of the lowest calorie counts of all fruits, grapefruit has been a popular ‘diet’ food in the past, especially after a small 12-week study showed dieters who ate half a grapefruit or drank a glass of the juice three times a day before meals lost around 3lb more than those who didn’t consume either. In reality, it’s unlikely that grapefruit has any magical weight-loss powers, but its high water and fibre content may fill you up for few calories. What’s more certain is that it’s a rich source of immune-boosting vitamin C – just half a grapefruit provides a third of your daily needs.

Nutritional information per ½ (80g flesh): 24kcal, 5.4g sugars, 1.4g fibre

In the kitchen
MIX segments with chilli and spring onions to serve with grilled oil-rich fish.
DUST halves with cinnamon and add a little agave nectar, then grill until glazed.
MIX segments with chopped mint, prawns and a little fennel for a light salad.
grapefruit

Banana

The perfect snacking fruit, one banana may have the same number of calories as a chocolate digestive, but when you hear how much goodness it packs in, you’ll gladly swap the biscuit tin for the fruit bowl.

Nutritional reasons to buy
One portion of your five-a-day: 1 banana

Bananas make such a good between-meals filler as they’re fat-free and contain fibre, which keeps us feeling satisfied for longer. They also provide potassium, which, combined with low salt intakes, can help to prevent high blood pressure. Their manganese content makes them an energy booster, and their vitamin B6 content is good for our immune system.

Nutritional information per banana: 80kcal, 18.1g sugars, 14.g fibre

In the kitchen
SLICE and freeze, then whiz with vanilla to make ice cream.
MASH and add to your favourite curry.
PAN fry slices with cardamom to serve with Greek yogurt or low-fat custard.
banana

Related article: Seasonal ways to five-a-day in April