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Get thee behind me, refined sugar! Come forth, fruit!
June 29, 2012 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I know fruit is delicious and good for you. But how to make my brain believe it and eat it more?

I have not a damn thing against fruit, Nature's candy. Admittedly, I am picky about what fruit I like--citrus and melons are off the table, mostly for texture and definitely not for taste--but I want/need to reach for the fruit before I reach for the refined sugar.

I am a baker; I am usually excellent about not eating what I make because I want to move it as a product instead of hoarding it all on my own (and also because I sell it). I keep lots of fruit in the house in an attractive bowl on our dining room table. It's there. I see it. It looks good....but my body and brain steers me right to the cupboard where I inevitably end up having a tablespoon of Biscoff spread or some such instead a damn apple/banana/etc.

If you're a fruit lover, how do you incorporate more fruit and less added sugar into your diet? I am vegan so please keep that in mind when showering me with your genius ideas and suggestions.
posted by Kitteh to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Husbunny won't eat any fruit except for berries. That's it.

He loves it with whipped cream, but a vegan whipped topping might work for you.

Cooking fruit is good, baked apples, peaches, apricots. Fruit compote. Masserated fruit. All are yummy and go the extra mile in the area of delicious.

At dinner in addition to a salad, hot veg and a starch, I like to serve fruit. It's easier to eat if it's all cut up and ready to go.

I don't like dirty hands, so chomping on a juicy peach bugs the everloving shit out of me. Cutting it off the stone/core and putting it on a plate is good for me.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:48 PM on June 29, 2012


You could always stop buying the Biscoff spread, that way the only thing snacky in the house would be the fruit.

....Yeah, that doesn't work so well for me either, though. What has worked is, believe it or not, bringing bag lunches to work. I put a bunch of fruit in there with the rest of the lunch, and that way it really IS the only option for me, so it gets et.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:49 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vegan banana "ice cream" is the business. Frozen banana coins (2 bananas worth), 1 TB cocoa, 1 heaping TB peanut butter, 2 packets stevia, a bit of soy milk to keep everything moving, whir in food processor = yum.

Also, berries, grapes, and cherries. For whatever reason, these seem to get eaten (at least, at my house/workplace) far quicker than apples, oranges, or peaches.
posted by Athene at 12:50 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you more likely to eat it if it's cut up, or prepared in some way?

You could make a rule that when you want a snack or are bored, you need to do that procedure (cut up an apple, or wash up a handful of berries) before doing anything else.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:52 PM on June 29, 2012


I do much better with cut-up fruit, whether it be cutting up fruit just before eating or making fruit salad ahead and stashing it in the fridge. You can also do super healthy fruit crisp recipes that may make it feel more like "dessert" - add some cornstarch to the fruit and maybe a very little bit of sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit), and do a crumble topping with minimal fat, focusing on oats and nuts.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:56 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've noticed that cut-up/prepared fruit is a damned sight more appealing than just plain-ol'-fruit. If I were you, as SOON as I brought my fruit home, I'd wash it, cut it up into wedges/coins/chunks/tiny ornamental pagodas, toss it with some lemon juice and/or sugar (helps preserve it), then stick it in the fridge - maybe even in individual containers (half-cup Ball jars are ADORABLE). I'm not sure why, but I am WAY more likely to grab a cute lil' jar of ready-to-eat fruit than I am to chomp into an unadulterated apple.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:56 PM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Chopped strawberries with greek yoghurt and sliced almonds is great, that's my breakfast a lot of days.

Apples and pears chopped up in salad too.

For a snack, apple slices and peanut butter is the obvious quick one.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:56 PM on June 29, 2012


top a lot of fruit with bits of the processed sugar that you're craving. as suggested, some vegan whipped topping. also: a swirl of dark chocolate, some honey, eating a small scoop of ice cream with tons of fruit, using a tablespoon of the biscoff spread sparingly as dip to a lot of fruit...
posted by saraindc at 12:57 PM on June 29, 2012


I find it very (mentally) hard to bite into an apple. It just doesn't seem that great. But if I convince myself to take a bite, the apple's delicious. The other option is cutting it up. In any case, whole fruit is not as appetizing as fruit I can see the inside of.

Also, do you eat your Biscoff spread by the spoonful, or on a cracker? Because once you've got a sliced apple, or an open banana, you've then got a great medium for peanut butter, nutella, biscoff, cheese (on apples), greek yogurt, any thick dip/spread. Of course, the point is that we're supposed to be finding you a way not to eat the spreads, but maybe fruit+spread would be a reasonable transition step.
posted by aimedwander at 12:58 PM on June 29, 2012


I load up on fruit in the AM -- fruit just seems to belong with breakfast. You could also make smoothies and sorbets. We recently bought an ice cream maker for just $35 at Costco; can make delicious sorbets with nothing more than pureed fruit of your choice, lemon juice to taste, and a bit of simple syrup.
posted by yarly at 1:01 PM on June 29, 2012


I eat frozen fruit pieces semi-thawed, especially frozen cherries. And frozen wild blueberries with a couple of spoonsful of coconut milk. And I have lately been buying a cored pinapple every week and eating a big slice with dinner. I find that one yields six thick slices and it's much better than a lot of other fruit options.
posted by Frowner at 1:01 PM on June 29, 2012


a damn apple/banana/etc

I have the opposite problem and would eat nothing but fruit if I could. However, those "basic" fruits can get boring. Do you also buy berries, watermelon, plums, nectarines, etc?

Also, are you trying local/in-season fruits? Sometimes the imported supermarket stuff can be tasteless, while the farm stand variety is like a totally different food.

And, maybe fresh fruit isn't your thing (a texture preference or something?) but fruit that's frozen or dried or cooked into jams would taste better to you.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:05 PM on June 29, 2012


First thing's first, "nature's candy" is prosciutto. (You're vegan, so I'll give you a pass on not knowing this.)

But I am the same exact way. I buy fruit all the time because, for the most part, I do like fruit! Really! And it sits there, looking lovely in my house, until it rots and I'm like goddamnit why didn't I eat you when you were delicious and pretty. I do this week after week after week.

The only way I manage to successfully eat fruit is to force myself. When I'm feeling snacky and go into the kitchen, I see the fruit, but instead I want to go and grab myself a handful of chocolate bits or a spoonful of nutella. So I make myself eat a piece of fruit first (in the sense of no dessert until you finish your vegetables!). I don't want to do it, but I make myself. And after the first bite, I'm usually sold, and don't care about the nutella anymore (just kidding, nutella, I'll always love you).

Telling myself that there's the snack I'd prefer to eat waiting at the end of it removes a lot of the mental stumbling block about eating the fruit.
posted by phunniemee at 1:15 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some people just don't like fruit. I don't think it's a crime. There's no question that everyone prefers some fruits over others. For me, in terms of apples, I can only eat ones that are uber-crisp and not overly tart. One of my coupled-friends are vegans, and the guy, he digs fruits, but the woman just don't dig on fruit. She makes up for it by eating more veggies.

I don't know of any studies that say this (I feel like I've just 'heard' it) - but it's been true for me. By totally avoiding all refined sugar - religously, like eating it would cause me to disintigrate or something - you will cease to really desire it all that much.

I have found that by doing this, even though a part of my brain looks at it and it seems appealing, it is actually no longer all that appealing to me when I actually try a little after a while. Some things still are to me, like occasionally some uber-dark chocolate, but most of the sweet things I previously ate like cakes and cookies are just kinda eh. (Could also be because I've gone Primal for the last month, but I don't think so).

Now this doesn't mean I don't still crave sweet things, they're just different. I have found that if I replace the previous sweets I ate with other sweet things made from fruits, if not the fruits themselves, it totally satisfies the 'sweet tooth' I seem to naturally have.

I highly recommend a number of "Larabar" brand fruit & nut bars, also "Kind" bars. Both of those brands are made entirely of fruits, veggies, or nuts, or some form of them pulverized - nothing else is added.

Whether eating bunches of 'natural' sugars from fruits all the dang time en masse is a great idea anyway, is still up for debate. YMMV.

posted by bitterkitten at 1:17 PM on June 29, 2012


Oh, another idea - smoothies. Chop up some of that fruit and throw it in the freezer, and then whenever you feel vaguely thirsty or hot, throw a few handfuls of random fruit into a blender with the juice of your choice and bam, there it is.

(Or add chocolate or coconut sorbet for amazing milkshake-type things.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:19 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are used to processed sugars, it might be that fruits such as bananas and apples don't have either enough sugar or a sweet enough taste to satisfy your palate. Try starting with really sweet fruits, like mango or kiwi or pineapple, then maybe peaches or apricots, then maybe berries, ending up with what I think are the least sweet, bananas and apples. I really think it's necessary to kind of retrain your palate to accept fruit as a legitimate source of sugar; it might take a while but keep at it. Maybe toss the Biscoff so you aren't tempted until you get used to eating fruit regularly.

And make it a rule that whatever fruit you bring home from the store you cup up RIGHT away.
posted by stellaluna at 1:19 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I often don't care for fruit as a snack because it lacks satiety on its own, and sometimes it leaves me feeling emptier and hungrier than I was before I ate it, which is unpleasant. The magic bullet, I've found, is pairing it with fat or protein—frozen berries mixed with Greek yogurt, banana spread with peanut butter (or Biscoff!), apple slices with cheese, and so on. Sorry, I know you're vegan so those specific ideas probably won't work for you, but are there any good vegan fat/protein sources that pair well with fruit?
posted by anderjen at 1:40 PM on June 29, 2012


Bananas, peaches, and apples all take to roasting or baking pretty well. That might make them more attractive.
Baked apples with currants and walnuts and cacao nibs?
Bananas roasted in their skins? (slice open the peel to make a vent). With marshmallows and dark chocolate stuffed into a slit in the banana, if you want crazy sweet. Studded with cacao nibs (peel back one section of the skin for this) for a less summer-camp variation. With peanut butter if you are my brother.
posted by janell at 1:41 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Buy what's in season. That's a big one for me. An off-season peach is gross, but a perfect, in-season one is transcendent.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:07 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


are there any good vegan fat/protein sources that pair well with fruit?

Whipped coconut milk. Someone in my co-op made a mousse out of it and holy shit.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:57 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Buy what's in season. That's a big one for me. An off-season peach is gross, but a perfect, in-season one is transcendent.

This is important.

As is just finding a way to make fruit the easy choice for snacking. Also, learning how to pick out fruit that is ripe, or just under-ripe enough to last until you'll want it.

Another thing that has worked for me is to buy fruit cups or dried fruits that are a little easier to snack on.
posted by gjc at 4:26 PM on June 29, 2012


I would do two things:

1. Make it available! If you know eating a fruit snack means "washing and cutting then eating" when you need a quick fix this will make the fruits off the table. Try to prepare some fruits ahead of time - cut up some fruits after dinner when you aren't hungry for tomorrow.

2. Add some sugar. Fruit is delicious but the sugar release isn't what I'm used to from refined sugars. So when you start eating fruits, add something with some sugar and/or fat to get you that instant sugar rush. Have a handful of strawberries with some chocolate dip (or something). Gradually decrease the chocolate dip over time.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 4:32 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


People have mentioned frozen other things, but nobody has mentioned the best: frozen grapes! They are the only thing getting me through this heatwave.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2012


I just ate a mango. How can anyone not love a mango?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:40 PM on June 29, 2012


If I'm correctly interpreting it that you like the flavor of melons but not the texture, how about simple smoothies? Not much more complicated than the melon and either water or milk alternative of your choice, whizzed in a blender.

A number of places around here serve watermelon juice in the summer, which as far as I can tell is nothing more than cubes of seeded (or seedless) watermelon in the blender with as much water as it takes to get it to blend. It's very refreshing in the heat.
posted by Lexica at 5:50 PM on June 29, 2012


I make a deal with myself that I can have the cookie, brownie, etc. but I have to eat a piece of fruit first. A lot of times, the fruit is enough. I've also had luck with buying smaller fruit. A big apple looks delicious but it's more than I want. If I buy the smaller bag apples, I'll actually eat them more often and they usually taste better.
Cut up fruit like pineapple or berries is easier to have a small portion that I can persuade myself to eat. Freezing up a couple of bananas cut in half makes a great snack when you want something cold and creamy. I put chocolate syrup on mine so it's not sugar free but even straight up it's good and I won't even eat a room temp banana because it's texture is too mushy for me.
posted by stray thoughts at 5:52 PM on June 29, 2012


Don't feel too bad about it. Lots of fruit really isn't very good for you because of the high fructose content (I'm looking at you, apples). Berries are pretty good because they have tons of good stuff and not so much fructose but many other fruits should not be eaten all the time.
posted by imagineerit at 7:34 PM on June 29, 2012


In keeping with the in-season fruit suggestions, why not go produce picking with a group of friends or family? You can check pickyourown.org for the nearest farms. There is nothing like walking through a field of strawberries inhaling their scent and popping them straight into your mouth (checking for bugs, first.)

One of my happiest childhood memories was picking apples on a foggy day chasing other children around the orchard and climbing trees. Positive reinforcement there!

Also, applesauce with porkchops, braised pork loin with port and dried figs, chicken with green grapes. Meat and fruit recipes abound online.
posted by ayc200 at 7:39 PM on June 29, 2012


Cut up an apple, put the spread on the apple slices. (I've never heard of it before, but sweet creamy spread on tart, crunchy apple should be tasty.) Try it with a banana. I love apples and peanut butter. I had some schmancy pb with dark chocolate; it was lovely on apples. Cherries are in season, clean them when you bring them home; eat like candy. Really good local strawberries can be delicate, but rinse, slice, put in a crepe, add sugar. Takes a few more minutes, but strawberries taste like summer, and are so worth it, even when my chronic fatigue is kicking my tail.

I can happily peel, slice and eat a mango standing at the sink. Peach(apple, cherry) pie or crisp is a delicious dessert, and not too sweet.

Next time you head for the spread, grab an apple1st. You can still have the spread, with or after the apple.
posted by theora55 at 8:25 PM on June 29, 2012


I had a similar problem, but learned that very simple prepared fruit or dishes that incorporate it are more attractive to me. Now I add it to oatmeal in the morning, or cut it up and serve it with fresh cream or whipped cream (try adding a tsp. of sugar and/or cognac or liqueur).

I've also found that dried fruits are great for snacking, especially if I've dried them myself.
posted by Hylas at 10:08 PM on June 29, 2012


Try canned fruit. It's in syrup, so it will have the sweetness you crave. Plus, they always wait until fruit is properly ripe to can it. It's been my experience that some fruits are almost impossible to find properly ripe in-store (peaches. Never purchased a peach in my life that wasn't rock-hard), and so they're hard to enjoy.
posted by windykites at 4:40 AM on June 30, 2012


I like apple slices with peanut butter as a 'dip'. (If I'm feeling really lazy or busy, pre-sliced apples.) I like bananas on everything. Peanut butter, ice cream, cereal, pancakes. Peaches in cottage cheese. Berries with whipped cream (or just cream if you want something really rich). Apples and grapes with cheese cubes.

Honestly, it doesn't take much to get me to eat fruit. I've always loved it, and I could eat it straight all day long. Sometimes I'm more put off by the effort of cleaning and preparing it than I am tempted to eat something with refined sugar. If that's part of the problem, I recommend dumping your fruit in a water-vinegar solution as soon as you bring it home, and then storing it. Many fruits will last longer (especially berries), and it'll be closer to ready-to-eat than otherwise.
posted by asciident at 5:08 AM on June 30, 2012


I have this problem. I like fruit, I know I should eat it, but somehow it just doesn't beckon to me the way other foods do.

My solution is to make attractive preparations and share them with someone. I know it's a mental limitation on my part, and maybe therapy could teach me to enjoy pampering myself alone. But for now that's what works.

Friends, neighbors, nephews, nieces. Have a peeled and sliced Granny Smith with lime juice and mint. Have a parboiled and skinned peach drenched in a pool of pureed raspberry. Have a slice of blueberry pie. I'll have some too.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:24 AM on June 30, 2012


It is stone fruit season right now - take advantage. Go buy a bag of cherries while they are nearly affordable. You have to eat them relatively quickly.

The talk of preparing foods reminded me! One thing I've done for myself that's made fruit a more go-to snack for me is buying frozen sliced peaches - you don't have to worry about them going bad and they thaw enough to snack on pretty quickly. Other frozen fruits would work as well (I've done it with whole sweet cherries and mango; TJ's sells some bananas on a stick too). It would be especially good to replace ice cream as a cool treat. (Sorbet instead of ice cream is a good trade here too.)

You could also consider starting off with some baked fruits that you could make and taste. Yes, you'd have added sugar, but you could control that. I've been making myself applesauce with rum and ginger beer in place of water and that's delicious. I'd suggest cobblers too, but that's hard if you don't do butter.
posted by maryr at 8:03 AM on June 30, 2012


Make yourself a plate that has fruit AND Biscoff spread
posted by hollyanderbody at 8:14 AM on June 30, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I decided that I needed to up my fruit/veg intake. Rule #1--only fresh produce as snacks. If I'm home I may cut up something but if I'm going out I'll usually grab an apple or a tangerine. And I've found that the more produce I eat, the more my body wants it. The first few days were tough--I'd much rather have some carbs or even proteins--but now my system has gotten used to it and I find a crisp apple just as satisfying.
posted by wallaby at 5:53 PM on June 30, 2012


I eat a big salad every day, either for lunch or for dinner. In order to feel satisfied, I need to make sure my big salad contains at least four ingredients: 1. greens 2. a fruit 3. protein (I usually throw garbanzo beans in, or tofu) and 4. some kind of seed or nut - my favorites are toasted pumpkin seeds and toasted sesame seeds. DEE-FREAKIN-LICIOUS. For reals.

Also, my all time favorite breakfast is 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of blueberries - YUM.

One more thing: I always find the fruit I pick myself to be much more irresistible to me than the fruit I buy at the farmer's market, so I eat more of it. I also find the fruit I buy at the farmer's market to be much more appealing than the fruit I buy at the grocery store, with the same result.
posted by deliciae at 10:53 PM on July 26, 2012


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