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Are Grapes Healthy?

Grapes might not have the uber-healthy reputation that superfoods like acai, blueberries and apples do, but they're still incredibly healthy. In addition to being a quick source of energy from their natural sugars, grapes supply essential nutrients, hydration and antioxidants. They're also versatile in the kitchen, so you can whip up meals and snacks for your kids that are both tasty and healthy.

Grape Nutrition Basics

Like most fruits, grapes are a moderate source of calories. At 87 calories per NLEA serving – slightly less than 1 cup – grapes have enough energy to keep your kids satisfied between meals without much risk of overeating. Virtually all those calories come from grapes' 23 grams of carbohydrates, of which 19 grams are natural sugar. While it's important to limit your family's sugar consumption, the natural sugar in a piece of fruit is less likely to cause a blood sugar spike than the refined sugar in, for example, a piece of candy.

Grapes are essentially free of protein and fat, but they have an abundance of one overlooked nutrient: water. At about 85 percent water by weight, grapes can help keep your family hydrated, so they're a perfect snack to serve during or after physical activity.

High in Vitamin K for Wound Healing

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Grapes only supply a large amount of one essential vitamin, which is vitamin K. The body uses vitamin K to support blood clotting, which makes it crucial for the first stages of healing – and for ensuring your kids' cuts and scrapes stop bleeding quickly. Each serving of grapes supplies 18 micrograms of the nutrient. That's 20 percent of your daily vitamin K needs, and between 24 and 60 percent of the daily vitamin K needs for children, depending on their age. Vitamin K also seems to play a role in healthy development, including the development of the nervous system. So while scientists are still working out exactly how vitamin K promotes healthy development, it may be especially important for growing kids.

A Great Source of Anthocyanins

Purple and red grapes get their color from a family of pigments called anthocyanins, which also account for some of the grapes' health benefits. Anthocyanins have a powerful antioxidant function, which means they can "clean up" toxins called free radicals before they damage your cells and tissues. Anthocyanins are also linked to better cognitive functioning, including a 2012 study in "Appetite" that found that blueberry anthocyanins, which are closely related to grape anthocyanins, promote better memory in children.

Serving Grapes to Your Family

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The beauty of portable foods like grapes is their simplicity – if you're short on time, just add them to a container for an instant snack on the go. However, that's not the only way to enjoy them. Freeze whole grapes as a cooling alternative to sugary frozen treats in the warmer months, and add sliced grapes to your child's tuna and chicken salad sandwiches for a sweet twist. If you're more advanced in the kitchen, pick up larger batches of in-season grapes during the late summer and autumn to make homemade low-sugar grape jelly with your kids – you can make ultra-flavorful peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all year without all the added sugar found in store-bought grape jelly.