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Fruit Salad Magic

Turn fruit into a salad, and watch it disappear.

Dressing Up Your Fruit Salad

You can dress up your fruit salad with all sorts of additional ingredients. There are things you toss in for texture and flavor pizzazz -- like walnuts or gingersnap crumbs if you want something crunchy, and miniature marshmallows if you want something sweet. And then there are things you drizzle onto the fruit, like flavored light yogurt if you want something creamy and tart or a splash of amaretto liqueur if you want a little kick.

What should you avoid adding to your fruit salad if you're trying to trim calories? First, there's whipped cream, with 51 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. Some recipes call for mayonnaise or Miracle Whip -- but at 200 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, you're better off without it. (See the recipe below for a lighter Mock Mayo for your fruit salad recipes.)

And what about nuts? While it's true that a tablespoon of walnuts or pecans has nearly 50 calories, nuts also contribute half a gram of fiber per tablespoon, as well as important nutrients.

Here are some lower-calorie fruit salad toppings to choose from:

  • 1 tablespoon walnuts or pecans = 47 calories (and 0.5 gram fiber)
  • 1/8 cup miniature marshmallows = 18 calories
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat granola = 23 calories (and 0.5 gram fiber)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins or dried cranberries = 30 calories (and 0.5 gram fiber)
  • 1 tablespoon gingersnap cookie crumbs = 30 calories (about 1 cookie)

And here are some lower-calorie drizzles and dressings for fruit salads:

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice = 4 calories
  • 1 tablespoon apple-raspberry juice = 7 calories
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice = 7 calories
  • 1/8 cup raspberries, pureed = 7 calories
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice = 9 calories
  • 2 tablespoons lite nondairy whipped topping = 15 calories
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt = 19 calories
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie pudding = 22 calories
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons less-sugar jam + 1 tablespoon plain yogurt = 28 calories
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liqueur (like amaretto or Chambord) = 29 calories
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat flavored yogurt = 30 calories
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy sour cream = 30 calories
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons less-sugar jam + 2 tablespoons lite nondairy whipped topping = 33 calories
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding made with 2% milk = 37 calories
  • 2 tablespoons lite nondairy whipped topping + 2 tablespoons flavored yogurt = 45 calories

Keeping Your Fruit Salad Fresh

There are basically two rules for keeping fruit salad looking and tasting fresh:

1. The first rule is to wait to dress your fruit salad, and cut up and add the most vulnerable fruits, until right before serving. The less time the fruit spends exposed to the air and covered in dressing or topping, the better.

2. The next trick is to use high antioxidant fruit juice to keep certain fruits from turning brown. Some fruits are vulnerable to browning when their inside flesh is exposed to air or oxygen, like sliced or chopped apples, pears, or bananas. A splash of lemon, orange, or any other citrus juice will help keep vulnerable fruit from turning brown.

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