“Drink” More Blueberries

— Written By Teresa Bethea and last updated by
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July is National Blueberry Month! Did you know that North Carolina is the seventh largest blueberry growing state in the country? We produce 48.5 million pounds of blueberries every year.

Head to the store and check out the great values on fresh blueberries! This is the peak of the season; the quality is super and prices are economical. Buy fruit while it is in season and freeze to have for your recipes all year round. Make sure to shop at your local farmers markets and fruit stands. Many growers also offer a pick-your-own service, which can be a fun, family outing.

Research by the United States Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ranked blueberries at the top of its class in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help protect our cells from damage and may help reduce our risk of certain cancers, infections, and memory loss.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) provides a lesson on making smart drink choices from the Eating Smart on The Run series. Limiting sugar in beverages is a good way to support healthy weights in both adults and children. Here are some options to make heathier drink choices:

  • Drink more water.
  • Add lemon, orange, strawberry, blueberry, or other fruit or juice to water.
  • Drink low-fat and fat-free milk for a low-sugar, high-calcium option.
  • Drink 100 percent juice in moderation.
  • Drink fewer soft drinks.

Fruit smoothies are a quick, refreshing, and tasty way to increase your calcium and fiber intake. You can add those delicious blueberries to increase your fruit consumption. Check out the fruit smoothie recipe below from the Cooking with EFNEP cookbook. Mix and match from the three variations below to find the smoothie that is just right for you and your family, and drink those blueberries!

Fruit Smoothies

Serving Size: 1 cup (makes 2 servings)

Choose ½ cup of a fruit:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Bananas

Choose 1 cup of a base:

  • Low-fat plain yogurt
  • Low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • Low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
  • Undiluted, frozen juice concentrate, such as apple or orange
  • Frozen fruit
  • Ice cubes

Choose ½ cup of a liquid:

  • Low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • 100 percent fruit juice

Example 1

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup fat-free milk

Example 2

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 cup low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup orange juice

Example 3

  • ½ cup banana
  • 1 cup frozen orange juice
  • ½ cup low-fat milk

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth; serve immediately. This will give you enough for two people. If there are more than two of you, you can double the recipe.

To learn more about EPNEP, please contact Teresa Bethea, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant with  North Carolina Cooperative Extension,  Robeson County Center,  at 671-3276, by E-mail at Teresa_Bethea@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.

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