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Fresh pineapple is a refreshing and healthy alternative to processed sweet treats 1. Fresh pineapple pairs well with low-fat cottage cheese at breakfast or nonfat frozen yogurt after dinner. Pack pineapple wedges in your kids' lunches or save some for your afternoon snack. Pineapple is naturally sweet, low in calories and full of fiber, so you don't have to feel guilty about your diet when you eat it.
A 1/2 cup or 4-ounce serving of fresh pineapple chunks contains a little less than 60 calories. If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, this serving of pineapple takes up a minimal 3 percent of your calorie allotment for the day. After slicing up the pineapple, portion out your servings in plastic bags or sealed containers. You'll have a quick low-calorie snack at your fingertips. In addition, since they're pre-portioned, you'll be less likely to eat too much.
Almost all of the calories in fresh pineapple come from carbohydrates, which your body needs for energy. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into their simplest form, which is glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose is the main fuel source for every cell in your body. In addition to carbs, your body breaks down fat and protein from the foods you eat. Protein and fat are backup sources of energy when carbohydrates run out. Pineapple has only trace amounts of fat and protein.
Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate, so it does not contribute to any of the calories in pineapple. You need fiber to help keep your bowels moving so your body can eliminate waste. Fresh pineapple, along with other fruit, is particularly high in soluble fiber. This type of fiber slows down digestion. When this occurs, your intestines back up and force food to stay in your stomach longer. This process keeps you full for an extended period of time. In addition, soluble fiber helps stabilize your blood sugar and can help lower your blood cholesterol, reports MayoClinic.com 2. In order for all of these functions to occur, women need 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day, while men require 30 to 38 grams. Your low-calorie side of fresh pineapple offers nearly 2 grams of fiber.
Keep your fresh pineapple healthy by pairing it with low-calorie foods. Mix your sliced pineapple with other fresh fruits. Blueberries provide 60 calories per 3/4-cup serving, and a small 6 1/2-ounce orange also has 60 calories. Top fat-free vanilla yogurt with grilled pineapple slices. A 1/3-cup serving of fat-free frozen yogurt contains about 80 calories. Pairing fresh pineapple wedges with low-fat cottage cheese is a healthy low-calorie snack or breakfast meal. A 1/4-cup portion of low-fat cottage cheese has approximately 45 calories.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Pineapple, Raw, All Varieties
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes; American Dietetic Association
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