Diet Hack: “Convenience” Fruits

I try to be one of those people who always has fresh produce on hand, but sometimes, I go to make my sack lunch for work and discover too late that we’ve either run out of everything or the produce has gotten too old to use. It happens to the best of us.

frozen fruit

The “Before”: My container filled with frozen fruit when I get to work.

Luckily, I’m also a big believer in always buying up bags of frozen fruit when they go on sale. Between Kroger and ALDI, I usually have a good smattering of varieties buried in the deep-freeze. I used to only buy it to make smoothies, but over time I’ve found a better snack that doesn’t dirty up the blender or require other ingredients or make loud noises. Frozen fruit by itself can be a real life saver in a pinch, and it also seems (to me) like more of a meal than a smoothie.

When I wake up and go to pack my lunch and realize we’re out of fruit, I just grab a bag or two of the frozen stuff and make my own “fruit cocktail” by dumping a handful of a couple different bags into one of those small, round plastic containers that comes with a twisty-lid. (I never trust snap lids. Like, ever.)

I take it — still frozen — to work with me and when I get there, I just set it on the counter until lunch time to melt. By lunch, it’s completely thawed and has made its own yummy cocktail juice around the fruit as well, even if you’re using no-sugar-added fruit chunks. My favorite combo is a big handful or so of frozen mango chunks with a smaller handful (just five or six) pitted cherries. The combo just described packs 135 calories, 0g fat and 4g fiber. Or, if you’re using the old Points system like I currently am, it’s 2 points.

thawed fruit

The “After”: All thawed out by lunchtime and soaking in its own lovely juice. Yum.

And, unlike a smoothie sipped through a straw, you feel like you just sat down and actually ATE SOMETHING. (Because you did.) It’s also lower in points than a smoothie since you’re not adding extra juice or yogurt or whatever into it. But it’s filling, and sweet enough to trick even this sugar addict into feeling like I just had dessert.

I also like that packing my meal while it’s still in frozen-cubes state means that I don’t end up overeating. What fills an entire plastic container frozen later only fills less than half once it’s melted. So it’s impossible to pack an irresponsible amount of fruit in my lunch when I do it this way.

I know this is sort of a simple post, and maybe not even a hack, per se, but I wanted to share it because I used to think so many different frozen foods (veggies, too!) required too much planning and thawing and this and that to be a good on-the-go option. (I’ve done this with frozen broccoli spears, too. Leave them in a sunny spot by your window, drain and dump on a paper towel at lunch, and you’ve got a veggie ready to eat. It might not be quite as good as a fresh baggie of broccoli, but it’s a lifesaver when you don’t actually have any fresh veggies in the house and are considering cheating that day by ordering in since your crisper bin is empty.

Anyway, I like finding out what other simple snacks (not really recipes, even) fellow Weight Watchers are fond of, so I thought I’d share mine from time to time. Sometimes I just forget that I used to like eating a certain thing or had a quick lunch idea that I used a lot back in the day, and it’s always great when something I see or hear reminds me of it. I think, “Hey! Yeah, I want to start eating that again. That was awesome and healthy — how could I forget how much I missed that?”

So, there you go. Thawed frozen fruit with zero prep (other than shaking it into a bowl and leaving it sitting out all morning at the office). It’s good stuff.

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