Blueberries. One of Earth’s natural wonders, and they can’t get much better. They’re beautiful. They’re delicious. They’re versatile. They’re good in a smoothie. They’re good by the handful. You can grow them in your garden or you can buy them at the store. And best of all, they’re one of the absolute healthiest foods on the planet, so if you’re looking for ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet, you have plenty of tasty and fun options.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
In recognition of July as National Blueberry Month, we’ll list some of the many health benefits of blueberries before we inspire you with ideas for how to use them.
- Blueberries have antioxidant power, which is beneficial in fighting inflammation.
- They are associated with improved mental health and memory.
- Blueberries are good for your bones, because they both contain iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin K, phosphorous, manganese, and magnesium.
- Blueberries have plenty of vitamin C, which is good for your skin.
- Because they don’t contain sodium but do contain a variety of other nutrients, blueberries may help to lower blood pressure.
- They protect against heart disease.
- Due to their antioxidant properties, they may help to prevent some types of cancer.
Fun Ways to Incorporate Blueberries into Your Diet
Now that you know how truly amazing blueberries really are, here are some fun and delicious ways to add them to your diet.
1. Eat them as they are. Why play around? Just grab a handful, rinse them, and pop them into your mouth.
2. Blend them up in a nourishing smoothie. Add frozen yogurt, milk, blueberries, and your favorite sweetener into a blender. Push start. Wait for the desired consistency. Pour it all into a clear glass so that you can see how pretty it is. Grab a straw and enjoy.
3. Toss them into your pancake batter or on top of your waffles. Blueberries and breakfast just seem to go hand in hand. Add blueberries into your pancake batter, or top your plain pancakes or waffles with blueberries. You can either use them fresh or in a blueberry compote.
4. Add them to your ice cream or frozen yogurt. Before tossing some blueberries onto your sundae or plain vanilla ice cream, consider cooking them with a little sugar and water. And now you have a warm, gooey blueberry topping for your ice cream.
5. Incorporate them into a healthy fruit salad. This is a perfect way to clear your refrigerator and pantry to create one of the healthiest and most refreshing salads possible. Cut all your favorite fruits into similarly sized bites and mix them together with a splash of orange juice and shredded coconut. For additional protein, some crunch, and to enhance the flavor, toss in some walnuts or other nuts.
6. Drop them into ice cube trays. Ice is a little dull, don’t you think? So spruce it up by dropping one or two blueberries into each compartment before filling it with water. It’ll also give your beverage a boost of flavor when that ice cube melts.
7. Make blueberry jam. Blueberries, sugar, and a touch of lemon juice is all you’ll need. Cook them in a saucepan and there you go! Jam for your morning toast or for that PB & J sandwich that you love so much.
8. Use them for lettuce-based side salads or main course salads. In addition to fruit salads, you can incorporate blueberries into your diet through many different types of side or main course salads. For example, toss a garden mix with nuts, blueberries, and raspberry vinaigrette. It’s simple and refreshing yet full of nutrients.
9. Bake them into muffins. Use only fresh blueberries in the muffin batter or incorporate other fruits as well.
10. Throw a few into your cereal or oatmeal. It can’t be easier than that. You’re having cereal anyway, so you might as well toss in some blueberries to make it even healthier.
11. Buy or make yogurt with blueberries. Check the yogurt aisle, and you’ll see many varieties of blueberry yogurt. Yogurt itself, by the way, has many health benefits, so it’s a win all around.
12. Invent your own blueberry salsa to use as a topping for meats. This one might sound a little strange: blueberry salsa on top of meat? Really? Well, you put cranberries on top of turkey, right? And cherries on top of pork? And strawberries with chicken? So why not blueberries?
13. Mix them into homemade energy bites. It’s actually a trend these days as people are becoming more health conscious when it comes to snacks. Mix chia seeds, nuts, oats, blueberries, and a sweetener and solidifying agent like maple syrup. Bake them until they’re golden brown. A variety of recipes for this can be found online, like this one from Flavor the Moments.
14. Splurge with Sangria. Wine has several health benefits, but alcoholic beverages can be dehydrating and might not be ideal for every senior. Still, if you can have wine, dropping a few blueberries along with other fruits into the bottom of your Sangria can be a fun way to incorporate blueberries into your diet – and a good excuse to have that drink, in moderation of course