8 June 2017Strawberries: delicious, sweet, and healthy!

Strawberries are weight-friendly, diabetes-friendly, and oh, so delicious when they are fresh and in season. Ditch the junk food and try fresh strawberries for your indulgent treat - your body will thank you!

Calories & Carbs

One cup of fresh strawberry halves (about 5 oz) has only 50 kcal and 12 grams of total carbs (3 g fiber, 7.5 g sugar). That is a lot of delicious sweet taste for a very reasonable caloric cost. If you are craving something sweet for a snack or as an after dinner treat, fresh strawberries are a great choice - the flavor will knock your socks off. And my guess is that you will not miss your junk food or candy when you have fresh strawberries as an indulgent option.

Tip: For folks with diabetes, 1 cup of strawberries contains only 1 carb choice while providing 3 grams of fiber. If you are looking for flavor with minimal carbs, try using just 1/4 cup of sliced fresh strawberries in yogurt, salad, or some other dish without having to count it as a carb choice (only 3 g total carbs).

Vitamin C

Did you know that strawberries are a fantastic source of vitamin C? One cup provides about 89 mg of vitamin C - about 119% of the RDA for adults. Compared to 1 cup of orange slices, you get nearly the same amount of vitamin C for only 47% of the calories and 57% of the carbs. Not a bad swap!

Antioxidants

Although most people know that blueberries are high in antioxidants, many do not realize that strawberries are also a good source. Strawberries are rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids (e.g. ellagic acid and anthocyanins). Antioxidants are reported to help lower our risk of cancer as well as support cardiovascular health.

Healthier Fancy Dessert

Sometimes you just want something other than raw berries for a special occasion or for guests. I love Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream for this purpose. There are many online versions to try, but the one I like the most is Ellie Krieger's recipe on the Food Network. Please be sure to view the original recipe and decide for yourself if you want to keep the original ingredient amounts. I simply reduced the amount of honey and sugar.

Modified Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar or white sugar
16 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (1 standard plastic container)
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into strips or ribbons

  1. Whip ricotta cheese, honey, and vanilla extract in a bowl. To get it super smooth, use a food processor. Place in frig to cool.
  2. Combine balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.
  3. In a bowl, toss the strawberries, basil, and balsamic syrup together.
  4. Divide the ricotta cream mixture among 4 fancy glasses.
  5. Top with berry mixture (equally distribute among those 4 glasses).

Nutrition: 154 kcal, 20 g total carbs (2 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 8 g protein, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 67 mg vitamin C (89% RDA adults).

Tip: If you like this recipe and don't want to enter it yourself, then you can simply copy it from "Dietitian" via MyNetDiary's web program. Select Community tab, find Dietitian's My Community Profile, go to Custom Catalog, and then tap "copy" to the far right of the food name, Modified Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream. Enjoy!

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

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Foods & Recipes/Fruit & Vegetables

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