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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

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The Average American will eat 35,000 cookies during their life!
The average American's diet today consists of 55% junk food!


Anytime is the perfect time to enjoy your favorite fresh fruit for a snack     When you are deciding about snacking, think about:


The number of times a day you eat sugary snack


How long sugary food stays in your mouth


The texture of sugary foods...chewy?   sticky?

    From strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, to nectarines, pears, and plums, fruits appeal to even the pickiest eaters. Fruit is an important part of a healthful eating pattern and many fruits are available throughout the year. Having so many choices should help you meet the recommended two to four servings of fruit each day!

What is a serving of fruit?

Count one medium apple, banana, or kiwi, 12 grapes, 1/2 cup of strawberries, melon or other fruit as one serving.

Nutritionally, fruits pack a powerful punch

There is more to fruit than meets the eye. Nutrition-wise, fruits are a bargain because they are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For example, strawberries, cantaloupe, and oranges are rich in folate and vitamin C. Folate (or folic acid) is a B vitamin that has been shown to lower the risk of birth defects. This vitamin is especially important for women during their child-bearing years. When consumed in adequate amounts (400 micrograms daily) before and during pregnancy, folate can greatly reduce the risk for neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Over 2,500 babies are born with these defects every year.

Many fruits are also good sources of fiber. Fiber keeps the intestinal tract in good health and some fibers may decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

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Keeping Fruit Fresh

Fruit tastes best when fresh. When shopping for fresh fruits, consider ripeness. If you are buying fruit to eat today, buy ripe. For tomorrow or the next day, look for fruit that needs just a little ripening. And if you don't plan to eat fruit until later in the week, buy fruits that aren't yet ripe. To hasten the ripening of some fruits, such as pears and peaches, put them in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature.

Use this chart to identify fruits you have never tried before. Look for them the next time you are at the supermarket or farm stand. Fruits are organized by those you buy ripe and those that continue to ripen.

Fruits that will continue to ripen Apricots
Fruits to buy ripe and ready to eat Apples

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Give fruit a shower

Always wash fruit before eating it--even if you're going to peel away the outer layer. Use clean running water, not soap. Soap leaves a residue. Leave edible skins on fruits or trim away as little as possible. Fiber, vitamins, and minerals are found in the skin or just beneath it.

Fruit--a favorite with kids

Besides being nutritious, fresh fruits are great tasting and perfect for snacks and meals. Kids love fruits because they are naturally sweet and colorful.


Toddlers love finger foods--slice bananas, strawberries, and kiwi for a colorful and tasty snack.


Pack an apple, a bunch of grapes, or a plum for your teenager's lunch.


Offer a fruit smoothie or fruit with dip for an after-school snack.


Peanuts and raisins mixed in a paper cup.


Celery & carrots sticks used as dipper for peanut butter, cottage, cheese, cream cheese or bean dip.


Quarters of hard boiled egges.


Cubed or string cheese.


Carrot pennies-cut carrot into "coin" shapes-kids eat "money".


Milk sahek-8oz milk-banana or other fruit-1 tsp honey-2 ice cubes whirl in blender 1 min.


Butterfly sandwich-peanut butter on what bread w/sugar free jam.


Unsweetened cereals. Pretzels


Frozen banana pops. Cut banana in hales, put stick in cut end, freeze threee hours or more.  Dip in granola or chopped nust or serve plan.


Cheese nachos-arrange thin cheese wedges on tortilla or corn ships on cookie sheet. Slide under broiler for minute or two.  Add apple slices or glass of milk.

Fun fruit snack ideas

Try these delicious snack ideas that are sure to be a hit!

Skinny Dips

Here are two delicious dip recipes for dunking bite-size pieces of fruit. Kiwi and banana slices and whole strawberries were used for the nutrient analysis.

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Cantaloupe Surprise - Halve cantaloupes and scoop out seeds. Fill cavities with nonfat lemon yogurt and sliced strawberries, raspberries, grapes or any other bite-sized fruit.

Fruit Skewers - Thread strawberries, thick banana slices, and fresh or canned pineapple chunks onto a bamboo skewer.

Favorite Fruit Shake - Blend 1 cup fresh berries, 1/2 banana (cut into 1 inch pieces), 1/4 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice cubes for a tasty treat.  (Center for Disease Control)   (Produce for Better Health)


For more information
The American Dietetic Association/National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics.
For food and nutrition information and a referral to a registered dietitian in your area, call the Consumer Nutrition Hot Line at 800/366-1655. For customized answers to your nutrition questions, call 900/CALL-AN-RD (900/225-5267). The cost of the call will be $1.95 for the first minute and $.95 for each additional minute.

California Strawberry Commission For free information and recipes call 415/984-2221, or write: 1050 Battery, San Francisco, CA 94111 or visit at

This fact sheet is supported by a grant from the California Strawberry Commission. Acceptance of this grant does not constitute an endorsement by ADA of any company's products or services.

ADAF 1997. Reproduction of this fact sheet is permitted for educational purposes. Reproduction for sales purposes is not authorized.

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Other Snack Food Ideas:

Fresh fruits and raw vegetables
unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices
canned fruits in natural juices

plain bagels
unsweetened cereals
unbuttered popcorn
tortilla chips (baked, not fried)
pretzels (low-salt)
plain crackers

Milk and dairy products
low or non-fat milk
low or non-fat yogurt
low or non-fat cheeses
low or non-fat cottage cheese

Meat, nuts and seeds
sliced meats
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds

(these snacks combine foods from the different groups)

Remember to:


Choose foods less often


Avoid sweets between meals


Eat a variety of low/non-fat food from the food groups


Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste after snacks and meals

 More on Snacking:

The worst snacks are those you suck on for long periods of time, especially sour candies that have sugar and acid!  Dried fruit is high is sugar and is sticky.  If you must have these or other high sugar foods or acidic drinks have them with a meal.

Other good snacks besides non dried fruit is most nonfat dairy products, vegetables, and low fat meats.

A Cheesy Smile

What's the best way to guarantee a bright smile at the end of a meal? Say, cheese.

Research shows that concluding a meal by eating cheese can help prevent tooth decay. A recent study revealed that certain proteins contained in dairy products such as cheese may help to restore minerals in tooth enamel.  Eating cheese also stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps neutralize the cavity-causing acids in plaque. Cheese also helps clear the mouth of tooth-damaging bacteria and sugar.

5 A Day professional Site Handouts & PowerPoint presentation

5 A Day consumer site

RealAge Benefit: Flossing and brushing your teeth daily can make your RealAge as much as 6.4 years younger

Sources: ADA, National Institute of Dental Research, ADA

Snack Handout for Patients:


April 07, 2007

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
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