Fruit Salad Tips & Recipes (cont.)

And what about nuts? While it's true that a tablespoon of walnuts or pecans has nearly 50 calories, nuts also contribute half a gram of fiber per tablespoon, as well as important nutrients.

Here are some lower-calorie fruit salad toppings to choose from:

  • 1 tablespoon walnuts or pecans = 47 calories (and 0.5 gram fiber)
  • 1/8 cup miniature marshmallows = 18 calories
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat granola = 23 calories (and 0.5 gram fiber)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins or dried cranberries = 30 calories (and 0.5 gram fiber)
  • 1 tablespoon gingersnap cookie crumbs = 30 calories (about 1 cookie)

And here are some lower-calorie drizzles and dressings for fruit salads:

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice = 4 calories
  • 1 tablespoon apple-raspberry juice = 7 calories
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice = 7 calories
  • 1/8 cup raspberries, pureed = 7 calories
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice = 9 calories
  • 2 tablespoons lite nondairy whipped topping = 15 calories
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt = 19 calories
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie pudding = 22 calories
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons less-sugar jam + 1 tablespoon plain yogurt = 28 calories
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liqueur (like amaretto or Chambord) = 29 calories
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat flavored yogurt = 30 calories
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy sour cream = 30 calories
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons less-sugar jam + 2 tablespoons lite nondairy whipped topping = 33 calories
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding made with 2% milk = 37 calories
  • 2 tablespoons lite nondairy whipped topping + 2 tablespoons flavored yogurt = 45 calories

Keeping Your Fruit Salad Fresh

There are basically two rules for keeping fruit salad looking and tasting fresh:

  1. The first rule is to wait to dress your fruit salad, and cut up and add the most vulnerable fruits, until right before serving. The less time the fruit spends exposed to the air and covered in dressing or topping, the better.
  2. The next trick is to use high antioxidant fruit juice to keep certain fruits from turning brown. Some fruits are vulnerable to browning when their inside flesh is exposed to air or oxygen, like sliced or chopped apples, pears, or bananas. A splash of lemon, orange, or any other citrus juice will help keep vulnerable fruit from turning brown.

Recipes to Inspire Fruit Salads

Fruit salads are as individual as our tastes (and what's available in our local markets). Here are three recipes to inspire you to whip up some fruit salad magic in your own kitchen.

Mock Mayo

Use this instead of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip in your fruit salad (or vegetable salad) to save calories, fat, and saturated fat.

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
2 teaspoons sugar (Splenda can be substituted)
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon or orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl or 4-cup measure and whisk or blend until smooth.
  • Use in any fruit or vegetable salad recipe calling for mayonnaise.

Yield: 8 servings of dressing (2 tablespoons per serving)

Per serving (2 tablespoons): 70 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 121 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 65%

Honey Poppy-Seed Sauce

You choose the fresh fruit for the salad (try 2 cups each of four types of fresh fruit), then finish it off with this honey poppy-seed sauce.

4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange or apple juice
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

  • Add honey, lemon juice, orange or apple juice, and poppy seeds to small bowl and whisk together well to blend.
  • Drizzle sauce over 8 cups of fresh fruit salad in a large serving bowl. Toss gently to coat the fruit with the sauce.

Yield: 8 servings of sauce (each serving of sauce goes with 1 cup of fresh fruit salad)

Per serving: 32 calories, 0 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 0 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 0%.

Cinnamon-Almond Fruit Salad

This fruit salad has a nice blend of flavors from the fruit and the vanilla-cinnamon topping. The toasted almonds add crunch.

3 cups strawberry halves
2 cups blueberries
2 bananas, sliced
2 cups seedless grapes (red or green)
8 ounce container vanilla yogurt (any brand or type)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted almonds (sliced, slivered, or chopped)*

  • Add strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and grapes to a large bowl and toss gently to blend. Divide the fruit into 8 individual salad bowls.
  • Add yogurt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together in a 4-cup measure and stir to blend. Drizzle evenly over each fruit salad serving and sprinkle each with a tablespoon of toasted almonds. Serve!

* NOTE: to toast almonds, place in single layer in a nonstick frying pan and lightly brown over medium heat, stirring frequently. Let cool before using.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 153 calories, 4 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 3.3 g fiber, 23 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 23%.

Published July 9, 2007.

SOURCES: Nutrients in Food, Elizabeth Hands, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000. Food Synergy, Elaine Magee, Rodale (to be published in 2007). ESHA Food Processor II software.

©2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Last Editorial Review: 7/13/2007