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Take Five Healthy Meals for Healthy Families 3/26/2013

10:38 AM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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Shari Steinbach, MS RD, Meijer Dietitian and Healthy Living Manager

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Peak Pineapple Season

Pineapples are one of America's favorite tropical fruits.  Pineapples have a firm, fibrous flesh that ranges between pale yellow and golden. They offer a distinctive fragrance and a flavor that balances between sweet and tangy. Pineapples can be used fresh or cooked, in savory dishes and desserts. They are low in fat and sodium, and an excellent source of vitamin C.  The NuVal® score for Pineapple is 99!

Pineapples are picked ripe. The color of the shell isn't a reliable gauge of ripeness. A pineapple may be ready to eat even when the shell is green. Choose a plump pineapple with a sweet aroma and fresh-looking green leaves.

Peak season runs from March through June, but pineapples are available year-round.

Refrigerate a whole pineapple up to 5 days, or slices or chunks up to 7 days. Chunks can also be frozen.


Try these delicious pineapple recipes:


Not So Sweet 'n Sour" Chicken

Makes 4 servings


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tbsp. peeled and minced gingerroot

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup low-sodium tomato ketchup

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tsp. Sriracha sauce or red chili paste (optional)

1 tbsp. peanut or canola oil

½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch diagonal dice

½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch diagonal dice

½ red onion, cut into 1-inch diagonal dice

 2 cups diced fresh pineapple

3 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias

1 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

  1. In a medium bowl combine chicken, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and cornstarch. Let stand 10 minutes to marinate.
  2. For the sauce, in a small bowl combine soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar and (if desired) chili paste. Set aside.
  3. In a large nonstick wok or skillet heat oil over high heat. Add marinated chicken; let cook, without stirring, until browned. Stir chicken and continue to stir-fry 1 minute. Add bell peppers, onion and pineapple; stir-fry 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is cooked through. Add sauce; mix well to coat. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with scallions and (if desired) sesame seeds, and serve.


Recipe note: Substitute 3 to 4 cups frozen Asian blend vegetables for bell peppers and onion.


Nutrition information per serving: Per serving: 250 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 70mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 28g protein       


Pineapple-Mango Energy Smoothie

Makes 4 servings


1½ cups frozen Dole® Mango Chunks

1 cup diced fresh pineapple or frozen Dole® Pineapple Chunks

1 cup Meijer fat-free Greek yogurt

1½ cups lowfat milk or almond milk

2 cups crushed ice

1 scoop Meijer protein powder (optional)


In a blender or food processor combine mango, pineapple, yogurt, milk, ice and (if desired) protein powder; blend 30 seconds or until smooth.


Nutrition information per serving: 140 calories, 1g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 9g protein


Caramelized Pineapple Crumble

Makes 4 servings


4 cups diced fresh pineapple

1 tbsp. turbinado (raw) sugar

1 cup lowfat granola

2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tsp. light butter spread, melted

1/3 cup Meijer Unsweetened Pineapple Juice


  1. Preheat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread pineapple in a single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until pineapple begins to brown and caramelize. Remove from oven; let cool 10 to 15 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 375°F. For the crumble, in a small bowl combine granola, coconut and butter spread; set aside. 3. Spoon pineapple evenly into 4 small ovenproof baking ramekins. Drizzle each evenly with pineapple juice. Top each with ¼ cup of the crumble. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until topping is browned and crunchy. Remove from oven, and serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 225 calories, 4g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 3g protein


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