Fruit is a food group that gets a lot of attention for the abundance and variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals they offer. Today we are putting berries in the spotlight, not only because July is National Berry Month but because berries are a special category of fruit in their own right. These tiny fruits come in a few different varieties, are a small fruit loaded with nutrients, are full of flavor and are low in calories. Unlike other fruits, berries are versatile in that they can be prepared in a number of ways. Keeping your fridge stocked with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries will give you endless options of ways you can incorporate these delicious tiny fruits into your meals and snacks.

It is no doubt that berries are delicious on their own. Bring them in a baggie or small Tupperware to snack on during your busy day. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pecans pair well with the sweet, juicy berry. Toss them together in a bag so you have a snack full of vitamins, healthy fats and protein. Keep in mind that berries, like all fruits, must be washed prior to eating. However, this fruit is a little different than other fruits in that if you wash them all at once and place back in the fridge, they tend to get moldy fast. The proper way to prepare berries are to keep them in the refrigerator in the container you purchased them in, which usually is plastic with holes to get air in. Only wash them at the time you are about to eat them. Keeping the moisture on the berries creates a medium for mold growth and spoilage.

Berries are great additions to a lot of different foods. Vegetable salads, oatmeal, yogurt, and cereal are all meals in which you can incorporate berries. You can even place them on top of rice cakes or crackers to have as a quick snack. Spread a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter and top with strawberries or blueberries to create a sweet and savory breakfast combination. It’s easy to grab a handful of berries and toss them into these foods for added antioxidant power while also turning something dull into something flavorful and colorful.
Another way you can enjoy berries is to incorporate them into a fruit or green smoothie. Smoothies allow for quick and easy consumption of a nice sized portion of fruits and/or vegetables when you are on the go. Berries are great additions to green smoothies since they do a great job at complementing the leafy flavor with a sweet fruity taste.

Baking or pureeing berries is also a unique way to prepare this nutrient dense fruit. Toss a bunch into a pie dish alongside apples, peaches, pears or any other fruit you choose and bake in the oven. The flavors become enhanced and blended together to give you a warm dessert you can top with low fat whipped cream. Believe it or not, you can also jazz up a lean piece of meat by pureeing berries with some spices to create a sweet berry glaze. You can also puree berries to make your own homemade jam! Add ingredients like coconut flakes, flaxseed or low fat granola to create a delicious crunchy berry spread for waffles, toast or pancakes.

There you have it, endless ways to prepare this low calorie nutrient dense fruit that your whole family will enjoy. Berries are the perfect fruit to always have on hand when you need an extra boost, whether for flavor, nutrients or color!

Author's Bio: 

Bonnie R. Giller is a registered and certified dietitian nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor who helps chronic dieters break free of the pain of dieting and get the healthy body they love. She has multiple degrees in clinical nutrition, a certification as a certified diabetes educator and she works with people who are struggling with dieting or health conditions like diabetes take back control so they can get a healthy body and live their lives symptom free.

Bonnie utilizes the principles of intuitive eating in her work with her clients, which is eating based on internal signals of hunger and satiety versus situations or emotions. The result is they lose weight, keep it off without dieting and live a healthy life of guilt-free eating.

Bonnie is the author of 2 cookbooks and is now working on her third cookbook. She is also the author of an e-book called “5 Steps to a Body You Love Without Dieting” which you can download free at

For more information on Bonnie’s programs, books, lectures and presentations, visit