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For some firefighters, adding fruit into their day can be a challenge. You might fill up their cart with fruit and veggies at the beginning of the week only to be stuck with rotten, uneaten produce at the end of the week. The ideas below will help you use the fruit purchased without adding a ton of prep time
Tips for increasing fruit intake
Should I be worried about the sugar in fruit?
Fruit contains natural sugars like fructose, but it does not mean that this sugar is bad! Sugar found naturally in fruit comes with health promoting antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. The carbohydrates in fruit can help promote performance during training and prevent hitting a wall later in the workout. Canned or frozen fruit are great options if you have trouble keeping fresh fruit around. Note that fruit juice is more concentrated and can be easy to overconsume. Limit servings of fruit juice to 4-6 ounces.
How much fruit should I eat per day?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 1-2 cups of fruit per day. A cup of fruit is typically the size of your fist if you do not have a measuring cup available. A serving of dried fruit is ½ cup, but may not be the best option for weight loss as dried fruit is concentrated in calories. If you are very active and exercise more than an hour per day at high intensity, you may want increase your servings of fruit to 3-4 cups to replace the carbohydrate burned during exercise.
Fruit is also great when added to desserts! Check out the healthier Banana Cream Pie and Patriotic Angel Food Cake for fruit packed desserts sure to please your shift.
Megan Lautz, MS, RD, CSCS, TSAC-F
Megan is a Registered Dietitian and coach who specializes in firefighter nutrition. Megan’s mission is to help firefighters perform better, recover faster, and enjoy long healthy retirements. Megan is the owner of RescueRD LLC, which provides nutrition seminars and coaching for tactical athletes across the country. Check out @Rescue.RD on Facebook and Instagram.