Superfood Saturday: Peaches

Superfood Saturday: Peaches

August is National Peach Month, making it a great time to indulge in this sweet, juicy, nutritious and low-calorie fruit. Peaches are rich in vitamins A and C and also deliver niacin, folate, iron, potassium and manganese, among other vitamins and minerals. One fresh peach is approximately 60 calories and has two grams of fiber.

You might be surprised to learn that the peach tree is actually part of the rose family (as are plums and apricots). It”;s believed that the peach tree originated in China and spread westward. The first peach orchard in the United States was actually in Florida, though Georgia seems to get the most credit for their peach crops and is widely known as the “;Peach State”; due to the quantity they produce. While peaches are available year-round in the United States, they generally taste best and are more affordable during the summer months. Click here to learn how to know when fruits are in season >

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The United States has more than 300 varieties of peaches. Peaches are either yellow- or white-fleshed, though the vast majority in the U.S. are yellow. Peaches grown in Asia are typically white-fleshed.

When shopping for peaches, choose those that are firm to somewhat soft and free of bruises. The best indicator that a peach is ripe is the fruit”;s undertone, also known as its “;ground color.”; This should be dark yellow or golden. The red top color comes from sun exposure and isn”;t a ripeness indicator. A ripe peach also gives off that classic sweet peach smell.

There are many ways to eat a peach. Aside from eating them whole, peaches are also a great add-in for smoothies, salads or yogurt. They are also a great fruit to bake into recipes like waffles, pancakes or muffins.

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Here are three recipes where you can be creative with peaches and still enjoy all of their health benefits:
1. Grilled Peaches

If you”;ve never had a grilled peach, you”;re missing out! Grilling fruit, in general, caramelizes their sugar making the flavor even sweeter. Peach halves can be grilled for a delicious side or dessert. Click here to see the recipe! >

2. Peachy Green Ginger Smoothie

peaches recipe: peachy green ginger smoothie

A delicious blend of peach, banana and spinach make this a nutritious smoothie that”;s also packed with flavor. Combined with almond milk and fresh grated ginger, this peach-based smoothie is ultra-creamy. Click here to see the recipe! >

3. Blackberry Peach Upside Down Muffin-Cakes

peaches recipe: blackberry peach upside down cake

Is it a breakfast or a dessert? This light-and-airy muffin recipe combining blackberries and peaches is reminiscent of a cake but without all the butter or excess sugar. It makes a delicious morning sweet treat or can definitely be served as a healthy dessert. Click here to see the recipe! >

Safe Storage:

When it comes to storing peaches, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends keeping whole peaches in the refrigerator for up to five days after they ripen. Cooked peaches should be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

If peaches are too hard and still need to ripen, the USDA recommends placing them loosely in a closed paper bag at room temperature. Check daily until they are soft and sweet–;and ready to eat. For tips on how to keep all of your produce fresh, click here. >

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The post Superfood Saturday: Peaches appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

4 Sweet Reasons Peaches Are the Best for Summer Weight Loss

4 Sweet Reasons Peaches Are the Best for Summer Weight Loss

Sink your teeth into this juicy fruit for a sweet taste of summer. Fresh peaches are not only delicious, they also are accompanied by many healthy benefits. Grab a peach on the go or whip up one of our delicious recipes to use peaches for weight loss and enjoy a healthy, sweet and balanced summer diet.

Read on to find out exactly why you should bite into this sweet fruit and enjoy the many benefits of enjoying peaches for weight loss :
1. Low in Calories

peaches for weight loss

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium peach weighs in at only 58 calories–;and like many fresh fruits, it has less than ½ gram of fat, with no sodium or cholesterol. While it is true that peaches and other fruits contain sugar, that doesn”;t mean you shouldn”;t eat them. Sugar in peaches and other fruits occurs naturally; the kind that is loaded into soda, cakes and candy bars is processed, or refined. Both types are broken down in your body for energy. Refined sugars, however, enter the blood stream very quickly, causing blood sugar to spike, then crash. Low blood sugar signals the body it needs more energy, or more sugar–;which can start a vicious sugar-craving cycle, say experts. The sugar that naturally occurs in fruit is also packaged with a bunch of healthy nutrients, which help slow the absorption of sugar into your blood.

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2. High in Filling Fiber

peaches for weight loss
You get 2 grams of fiber per peach–;half of which is soluble fiber, the other half insoluble. According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber helps keep blood sugar levels steady; insoluble eases digestion. And overall, high fiber foods tend to be more filling, so you”;re likely to feel fuller longer. Research published in The Lancet found that eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day can help you lose weight, as well as help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

3. Packed with Water

peaches for weight loss

A peach is 88% percent water–;making it a low-energy-dense food. Energy density is the number of calories (or energy) in a specific amount of food, according to the Mayo Clinic. High energy density means a lot of calories in a little food; low energy density is the opposite–;few calories in a lot of food. High water content in fruits, like peaches, help provide volume and weight so you feel fuller on less calories.

4. Loaded with Disease-Fighting Nutrients

peaches for weight loss

This fuzzy fruit is a good source of vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system, and vitamin A that promotes healthy vision. It also contains potassium (that”;s good for your heart), iron, and antioxidants–;plant compounds that help protect your body against aging and disease. The riper the fruit, the more antioxidants it contains, according to Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.

Research from Texas A&M AgriLife found stone fruits–;like peaches, plums and nectarines–;have been shown to ward off obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Enjoy these fruits fresh or canned in water–;on Nutrisystem, one medium fruit or one cup canned peaches counts as one SmartCarb.

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Get your peach fill this season by whipping up one of these delicious (and peachy) recipes:
1. Peach Buzz Bagel Sandwich >

honey wheat bagel
What better way to start your morning than with slices of juicy peaches and a drizzle of honey? That sweet sensation sits atop creamy cottage cheese and a soft-baked, fiber-loaded Nutrisystem Honey Wheat Bagel for a satisfying breakfast sandwich that weighs in at 320 calories.

2. Peach Honey Whipped Ricotta >

honey whipped ricotta

It”;s rich, it”;s loaded with nutrition and it takes no time to make: Just blend honey with ricotta cheese and a hint of almond flavor for a sweet base. Add juicy grilled peaches to the side and voila–;pure deliciousness that provides eight grams of muscle-building protein. On Nutrisystem, this flex snack counts as one PowerFuel and one SmartCarb.

3. Skinny Peach Cobbler >

peaches for weight loss

Sure, you can have your cobbler and eat it, too: This healthy twist on a classic features soft, juicy peaches sprinkled with nutmeg and brown sugar and baked beneath a cinnamon-hinted homemade crust. It takes like you”;re cheating, but you”;re totally not: Each serving is only 135 guilt-free calories.

4. Blackberry Peach Upside Down Muffin-Cakes >

peaches for weight loss

Two beautiful summer fruits join forces to create a sweet that serves as the perfect breakfast treat or evening dessert and is the perfect way to use peaches for weight loss. These muffins are light, super simple to bake, and are sure to satisfy your cake cravings. The bonus: no butter, no sugar, and you get to eat two for 153 calories. On Nutrisystem, each serving counts as one SmartCarb and one PowerFuel.

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5. Peach Melba Pudding >

peach pudding

The Peach Melba your grandmother made had peaches, of course, plus vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. This healthier version keeps the sweet fruit, but subs in non-fat yogurt and raspberry-flavored gelatin to cut help sugar and fat from the old-fashioned favorite. Plus, this peach treat might take the win for best presentation. Each serving is 111 calories.

6. Peachy Green Ginger Smoothie >

peach smoothie

Green smoothies are an simple and delicious way to load up on body-boosting nutrients–;and this one is no exception. You get the sweetness of peaches, creaminess from bananas, and a bunch of fiber, vitamins and minerals from the spinach. Combined with almond milk and fresh grated ginger for a little extra zest, this smoothie is so tasty you”;ll slurp it right up. On Nutrisystem, one smoothie counts as one SmartCarb, one Vegetable and one Extra.

The post 4 Sweet Reasons Peaches Are the Best for Summer Weight Loss appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

10 Fruits That Taste Awesome Grilled

10 Fruits That Taste Awesome Grilled

Open-flame cooking brings out the best flavor in just about every food. When you grill vegetables and fruits, their natural sugars caramelize and they taste even sweeter. Many favorite fruits are fast and easy to grill, and they make a deliciously different ingredient, side dish, snack, or treat. Because they are nutrient-rich, filled with fiber, and low to medium on the Glycemic Index, fresh fruits are SmartCarbs you can enjoy without impeding progress toward your weight loss goal. Just be sure to consult your Grocery Guide for proper portion sizes.

Ready to try grilled fruit? Here are a few tips for success with all fruits and hints for enjoying 10 great tastes of the season:

Basket, Pan or Skewers

The grates that came with your grill are shaped for cooking meat, but less substantial ingredients, such as pieces of fruit, are prone to falling through as they heat up. When grilling fruit, put it in a wire basket or on a tray with small holes that allow the flames to touch the food but keep it from falling through. Another fun option: soak wooden skewers (like those used for kebabs) in water for 30 minutes, poke them through the fruit, then put them on the grill.

Go Large

Fruit cooks quickly on the grill and within minutes small pieces can begin to disintegrate. Cut it it in large chunks, even if you need to slice it down to bite-size before serving.

Light Oil

Spraying cut fruit with zero-calorie cooking spray, or tossing cut fruit with a little olive or coconut oil or butter before grilling helps bring out its flavor and prevents the pieces from sticking to the basket, pan or grates. Avoid drenching the food in fats, which can lead to a grease fire. Just coat it lightly.

Low, Indirect Heat

Cooking over high flames can leave you with burned fruit in a matter of minutes. Better to grill fruit on the outer edges of the grates or over coals that have turned gray.

Let Cool

Fruits contain a lot of water, which becomes extremely hot when grilling. Allow it to cool after removing it from the heat before eating so that scorchingly hot water doesn’t squirt out and burn your mouth when you bite into it.

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So now that you know the HOW of grilling fruit, here’s the WHAT:

1. Peaches

Slice in half and remove the pits. For more flavor, brush with honey and sprinkle them with cinnamon. Put peach halves on the grill with the cut side down and cook for eight to 10 minutes, until fruit is hot throughout.

2. Plums

Like peaches, cut in half and remove the pits before cooking. Leave on the grill for four to six minutes, until the flesh is tender but not crumbling.

3. Apples

Peel, cut into quarters and remove the core and seeds. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep the cut pieces from turning brown. Grill for 20 minutes, turning every five minutes.

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4. Pears

Slice into wedges, cutting away the stem, core, and visible seeds. Brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cook for 15 minutes, turning every three to five minutes.

5. Figs

Snip the tiny stem end off each fig and cut in half lengthwise. Coat in a light mixture of lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon. Grill for two to three minutes on each side.

6. Watermelon

Go with seedless varieties, if you can. Cut melon into thick wedges or one-inch-wide rounds. Grill for two to three minutes per side.

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7. Cantaloupe

Slice into one inch wide wedges with the rind still attached and discard seeds. Or cut into cubes (with rind removed) and slide them on to skewers. Cook for four to six minutes, turning frequently.

8. Pineapple

Cut pineapple into wedges with the skin still on the edges or remove the skin and core and slice into rings. Grill for about three minutes per side.

9. Bananas

Peel banana and slice in half lengthwise. Grill for two minutes per side.

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10. Lemons

Cut the fruit in half, pick out any visible seeds with a fork or your fingertip, and brush the cut sides lightly with oil. Set them cut-side down on the grill and cook for about three minutes, until the fruit is lightly charred. Squeeze onto grilled chicken, fish or vegetables.

The post 10 Fruits That Taste Awesome Grilled appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com