It’s that time of the year again – time for all our kids to annually become summer fruit-loops – hooked on all the magnificently luscious and juicy fruits that summertime brings us all!
But let’s first reflect on some of the super summer fruits…
“Superfruits” has actually today become a term that distinguishes fruits which have extraordinary phytochemical density (that is, a single serve contains a significant portion of our daily nutrient requirements); and fruits that have a superior quality of antioxidant strength (that is, they slow cell damage and aging); and fruits that have especially high health benefits for preventing or lowering disease – though of course all fruit provides health benefits!
Recognised “superfruits” include the blackcurrant, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate and red grape … plus often added to the list is the avocado, banana, blackberry, orange, papaya, raspberry and strawberry. Other more exotic “superfruits” include the açaí, billberry, goji wolfberry, guarana, mangosteen, noni and sea-buckthorn.
There are also “superfoods” that can easily accompany fruit, including flaxseed (linseed), oats (rolled-oats oatmeal), spirulina, walnuts, and yoghurt – plus if all of that is washed down with the superfoods of green or black tea … then WOW, we will be healthy!
Summer Fruits that adorn our supermarket fruit section include apricots (great for skin and respiratory conditions); cherries (a natural diuretic); mangoes (loads of antioxidants); plus nectarines, peaches, honeydew melon and watermelon (all a gentle natural laxative).
Then of course, there are the glorious Berries, berries and more berries! Blackberries (great for infection and circulation); black currents (great for water retention, circulation, stress, anxiety and the immune system); blueberries (great for urinary track infections and diarrhoea); cranberries (great for urinary track infections and the immune system); raspberries (great for fatigue and the immune system); red currents (great for fever and the immune system); and strawberries (great for joints and circulation).
There are also many, many edible flowers we can add to enliven our plates, including basil, broccoli, cauliflower, chamomile, chive, chrysanthemum, coriander, daisy, dandelion, dill, fennel, gladiolus, lavender, lemon, lilac, marigold, marjoram, mint, mustard, orange, oregano, pea, plum, pumpkin, radish, rocket, rose, rosemary, saffron, sage, squash, thyme, tulip and violet.
At the end of the day, it’s just about us all teaching our children how to enjoy Mother Nature’s sweetest natural treats – remembering that lollies, biscuits, cakes, sugar-added fruit juices, and soft-drinks are not neutral foods, they are harmful foods. They are all okay in moderation because our bodies are able to process moderate amounts of toxic foods. But, once such foods have become part of the daily dietary intake, then they are no longer harmless – especially energy drinks (adult use only please for the caffeine-rich energy drinks!).
Some people believe children require refined sugar for their energy, but that is a complete misnomer – what our bodies need for cellular energy is carbohydrates. In general terms, carbohydrates come in three forms:
- Starch, eg whole grains, potatoes and pasta (these complex carbohydrates provide a wonderful equilibrium of even blood-sugar levels for cellular energy use).
- Sucrose (the simple “fast” sugars found in fruit).
- Lactose (the simple “fast” sugars found in milk).
So, although fruit is full of brilliantly wonderful minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients – fruit is also full of sucrose (fast sugars), so about 2-3 servings a day is really adequate (thinking in terms of a “serving” being what you can hold in one hand, regardless of age).
The great majority of our body’s energy needs should ideally be supplied from complex carbohydrates, that is, starch. To explain: The body converts all carbohydrates to sugar (blood glucose) for use as cellular energy – our body never rids itself of excess glucose, it always stores it for a rainy day. Initially the body converts excess glucose to glycogen to store mainly in the liver – and when that’s full, it stores excess glucose as fat (adipose tissue). This is why all weight-loss diets are based on ingesting less carbohydrates daily, than our body’s needs for cellular energy – thus the body begins to catabolise (break-down) its stored energy, and we loose weight. Ta da!
Anyway back to the topic of sweet, sweet Mother Nature’s treats. One of the really precious gems available today is Stevia also known as “sweet-leaf”, “sugar-leaf” and “sweet-honey-leaf” shrub from South America. Stevia is around 300 times sweeter than sugar, but has no calories (a “0” glycemic index). It has multiple uses, such as adding 2-3 drops of Stevia to milk for morning cereal; plus as it is heat-stable it is also ideal for baking. Stevia is arguably the perfect sweetener for everyone!
Let’s now look at some lovely fruit recipe ideas for the kids’ summertime nutrition and fun:
Renowned “wholistic” food expert Don Tolman talks of the fabulously delicious and nutritious whole-food juice combo he calls KABALA juice:
K(C) – 1 kg carrots
A – 1 red apple
B – ½ beet
A – 1 yellow apple
L – ½ lemon
A – 1 green apple
Blend the juices all together and let the kids drink copious quantities – in fact it is said that adults can fast on this “Kabala – Tree of Life Juice” for 14-21 days, drinking a minimum of two litres daily.
½ cup Berries
Cup Yoghurt (Cheesecake flavour is especially great)
2-3 drops Stevia
Tbsp Walnuts / Oatmeal / Spirulina / ground Linseed / Flaxseed Oil
Just zap it all in the blender!
Fruit Smoothie Ice-Blocks
Same mixture as above, turned into homemade ice-blocks!
Frozen Fruit Blocks
Bananas (cut in half)
Jam (heated & sieved so lump-free) or heated honey
Toasted coconut or ground Nuts/Seeds
So easy! Cut the bananas in half, insert ice-block sticks, brush with jam/honey and roll in the coconut OR roll in ground nuts or seeds. Then place them on a tray/plate with them lying on and gently covered by cling-film – and pop into the freezer.
Can be great served with a dipping sauce of natural yoghurt sweetened with honey.
Mixture of fruit (eg chopped banana, strawberries, kiwifruit, pear, grapes)
Optional Extra: Marshmallows
Honey and 100s & 1000s OR Melted dark chocolate
Thread the skewers with alternating pieces of fruit and perhaps marshmallows. Fantabulous.
Optional Extra Treat: Brush them with warmed honey & dip in 100s & 1000s … or drizzling them with melted chocolate … wonderfully divine too.