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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
grapes 1

Grab those Grapes!

Posted by Caitlin Huth - celery grapes

Autumn brings a change in leaf colors and temperatures, but also to the selection fruits and veggies in your grocery stores. While available year-round, you will see more, and possibly better quality, grapes in stores in these cooler months.

Grapes might be one of the most versatile fruits Americans eat. They come in a lot of different forms – fresh grapes, dried as raisins, jelly, juiced, and made into wine. As well, they come in a variety of colors. While we think of standard green and red grapes, different varieties make some grapes pale yellow to deep blue-purple. You will also see round and oblong shaped grapes, in both small and large sizes. They even come with or without seeds.

Warning, grapes are considered a choking hazard for children. The USDA recommends cutting grapes into small pieces to help prevent choking.

Nutritionally:

  • 1 cup fresh grapes contains around 110 calories, 27g carbohydrate, and 1g fiber.
  • 1/4 cup raisins (packed) contains around 120 calories, 23g carbohydrate, and 2g fiber.
  • 1 cup (8 oz) 100% grape juice around 150 calories, 37g carbohydrate, and 0g fiber.

All of these forms of grapes are not a source of fat, protein, or sodium, and they have small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C. Juice may have added vitamin C.

Grapes contain phenolic compounds that research suggests may reduce risk of diseases, such as heart disease. Pigment colors in foods may also contribute to health. For more, read the "Buckets, Bales, & Bushels" blog entry on Rainbow of Food Pigments.

  • Buy: Look for fresh grapes that are firm, full, and colored per their variety. Grapes should be firmly attached to stems. Avoid grapes that are moldy, shriveled, or soft.

In raisins, look for plain raisins. Avoid those with "yogurt" coatings, which adds sugar.

In juices, look for 100% grape juice. You can also find 100% juice blends, meaning they have multiple fruit juices together, often apple or pear juice. Avoid juice cocktails and juice drinks which have added sugar.

  • Store: Place unwashed grapes in the refrigerator in perforated or open bags to allow excess moisture to leave. Grapes will last several days, sometimes as long as a week.
  • Prepare: Wash grapes before eating. Eat whole or cut into desired sizes for recipes.
  • Eat: Grapes are most often eaten as a fruit side or snack. Recipes that involve cooking with grapes are available for both savory and sweet dishes.

References:

Tuna salad sandwiches can be made more interesting with the addition of other ingredients, such as grapes, to add color and texture. Try this recipe below.

5-Ingredient Tuna Salad (serves 4)

Using red grapes with green celery will add great color to this sandwich filling. If low-sodium tuna pouches are available, try using those.

10 oz tuna pouch, packed in water or broth
1 cup red grapes
3 stalks celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt

1. Open tuna pouch (or pouches if using more than one smaller pouch). Add to bowl, flake with a fork to separate fish, and set aside.
2. Wash grapes and celery. Cut grapes in half, and dice celery. Add to bowl with tuna.
3. Add pecan pieces and mayonnaise to bowl. Mix to combine ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use within 3-4 days.
4. When ready to eat, spread tuna salad between slices of bread and top with lettuce, tomato, or other vegetables.

Adapted from Virginia Cooperative Extension, Family Nutrition Program

Nutritional analysis per serving (excluding bread or vegetables): 210 calories, 12g fat, 460mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 17g protein



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