Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

When you need a quick and easy appetizer to please a crowd, give these Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries a try. Created by dietitian Christy Wilson of Christy Wilson Nutrition, they are a sweet and savory bite-sized treat perfect for any get together.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb strawberries (whole) (slicing these in ½)
  • 6 oz blue cheese crumbles (using 2 ounces)
  • 4 oz bag of walnut pieces (using 2 ounces, crushed)
  • 3 oz package of prosciutto (sliced into ribbons)
Instructions
  1. With a pairing knife, cut strawberries lengthwise, through the top, leaving leaves on each side. Remove a small portion of the center to create a cavity. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup (2 oz) blue cheese and ¼ cup crushed walnuts until combined.
  3. To prepare, lay ½ strawberry over the center of a ribbon of prosciutto, cavity side up. Wrap prosciutto around and over the front.
  4. Place a dollop (½ tsp) of cheese mixture in the center of each strawberry half. Serve immediately.

 


The Heart of Santa Maria

Hear from Luis Chavez, a strawberry farmer from Santa Maria. He came to California from Mexico with nothing. Hear his heartfelt story about how strawberry farming gave him the opportunity to make a better life for him and his family.


Healthy Strawberry Recipes

Healthy CA Strawberry Recipe Roundup

Healthy Recipe Roundup

Fresh or frozen, CA strawberries are a versatile fruit that can help you keep your healthy-eating resolutions in check. Available year-round and delicious in both sweet and savory dishes, strawberries offer a nutritional boost to any meal of the day. Look through for a healthy recipe roundup to keep you on top of your nutritional kick!

For the New Year, we’ve enlisted four of our RD ambassadors − Regan Jones, Jenna Braddock, Robin Plotkin, and Caroline Kaufman − to create a roundup of #FreshorFrozen CA strawberry healthy recipe hacks that are perfect for the whole family, from breakfast to dessert.

BREAKFAST

Healthy Recipe Roundup - Vanilla Overnight Oats

Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats

Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to get your 8-a-day of California strawberries. Here are just a few fun new recipes you can try!

_ _ _ _ _
Regan Jones, RD, serves up a Superfast Breakfast Strawberry Crisp, combining ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen in this quick how-to video. She starts with frozen California strawberries and ends up with a breakfast so delicious you’ll think you’re eating dessert!


Healthy Recipe Roundup

_ _ _ _ _
Making healthy easy is RD Jenna Braddock’s forte and it shines in this Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats recipe, featuring frozen California strawberries.
Simply prepare before bedtime and wake up to a healthy grab-and-go meal!

Healthy Recipe Roundup

Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats

LUNCH

RD, Robin Plotkin, shares one of her favorite healthy lunch hacks − using sandwiches as an easy way to get your veggies and fruits in.

We’re loving this one in particular: Strawberry and Feta Stuffed Ciabatta Sandwich for the win!

Healthy Recipe Roundup

Strawberry and Feta Stuffed Ciabatta Sandwich

DESSERT

RD, Caroline Kaufman, whipped up this simple dessert hack that makes keeping your healthy-eating resolutions more attainable. By indulging in healthier versions of your favorite desserts, it’s easy to satisfy your sweet tooth vs. depriving it.

Whole Grain Waffle Strawberry Shortcake − a handful of simple ingredients, fresh California strawberries … and no baking!

Healthy Strawberry Recipe Roundup



Easy Brie Strawberry Swap

Easy Strawberry Brie

Topped with a healthy mixture of fresh California Strawberries,

this easy brie appetizer recipe will wow your guests.


~by Regan Jones, RD of HealthyAperture.com

 

One of the best things about family gatherings is all the fabulous food.

One of the worst things about family gatherings is all the fabulous food.

Surely you know what I mean? That first time you bite into something amazing you haven’t tasted since last time around, you stop to savor every bite. But by the time the end of the party rolls around, you’re wondering if someone will have to roll you out the door!

Family gatherings can be especially stressful for people watching what they eat to manage diabetes. So many cakes, cookies and appetizers that don’t seem to fit for a healthy diet. That’s one of the reasons I’ve teamed up with my friends here at California Strawberries in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month to provide simple #strawberryswaps for an easy brie appetizer recipe that would normally be a no-no during holiday celebrations.

Today’s swap is a fun, less frivolous twist on a classic baked brie recipe. You know the one, right? Brie is coated in a thick, sugary fruit preserve mixture and then wrapped in puff pastry. It’s a deliciously easy brie appetizer, yes, but not exactly on the lighter side for healthy entertaining. A fruit and cheese tray would certainly be a simple, healthy swap to replace classic baked brie, but I’ve got something a bit more special — Strawberry Topped Brie.

Easy Brie Appetizer & Strawberry Swap

Easy Brie Appetizer Topped with California Strawberries

By eliminating the puff pastry, I’ve trimmed both calories and fat. Yes, brie is still a rich cheese, but a little goes a long way and does provide a nice mix of protein and fat to help you feel full longer during all the party noshing. And by using the simple #strawberryswap of making the topping mixture a combo of fresh California Strawberries (which are naturally low in sugar) and only a couple of tablespoons of preserves, I’ve cut down on the overall sugar as well.

The cool thing about this idea (aside from how insanely beautiful it is and so simple to make) is that it’s a great way to wow friends with the health benefits of California Strawberries.

November is not only Diabetes Awareness month, but it’s also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. So be sure to let guests know you’re serving up a dish with healthy strawberries — that the American Diabetes Association considers a top 10 superfood, and clinical research shows may benefit your mind!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a wonderful start to the holiday season.

~Regan

Easy Brie Appetizer & Strawberry Swap

Easy Brie Appetizer Topped with California Strawberries

Strawberry Topped Brie

Easy Brie Strawberry Swap
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup California Strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp strawberry preserves
  • 1 round of brie, at room temperature or warmed slightly
  • Crackers and crostini
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with rosemary and salt; cook an additional 2 minutes. Add strawberries and saute 2 more minutes. Add in vinegar, orange juice and preserves, stirring well and cooking until thickened (about 10 minutes).
  2. Place brie on a small plate; remove strawberry mixture from stove and pour over brie. Serve with crackers or crostini.

 

 

 


Strawberry Cardamom Torte

Your Perfect Fall Dessert: Strawberry Cardamom Torte Recipe

So many of our favorite fruits pop into season as quickly as they fade out (I’m thinking about you figs and persimmons!). When it comes to berries, we tend to think of summer as their only season to shine. While that may be true for the likes of blueberries and blackberries, it’s simply not the case for strawberries. In California, the strawberry growing season runs year round and the 400+ California farmers that grow strawberries provide the United States with 90% of the strawberries that we find poised and pretty on store shelves. Did you know this? All of the above is what makes strawberries my go-to berry throughout the year, whether fresh, baked, cooked, sautéed, stewed or roasted – or particularly perfect for a Strawberry Cardamom Torte.

I’ve become more and more comfortable over the years using strawberries in both sweet (naturally) and savory dishes; not just during the sultry summer but also when we’re bundled up in sweaters during the cooler months. They’re a gorgeous addition when simply fresh-cut and thrown into a salad….think of fun ingredients like goat cheese and pepitas to pair with them. Quickly roasted strawberries just as easily top crostini for a delicious starter or vanilla bean ice cream as a cozy dessert. Not only are strawberries beautiful to look at with their vibrant color, but they are also loaded with vitamins and have half (half!) the sugar of many fruits, including apples.

So it should come as no surprise that this fall I wanted to create a stunning dessert and I turned to strawberries to make that happen. I re-created one of my most favorite recipes, the amazing New York Times Plum Torte by Marian Burros. I had visions of a puffed up cake, dotted with bright, fresh strawberries and in a nod to the seasonal change, I wanted to pair it with the warm spice of cardamom. This torte is so easy to throw together and comes out looking stunning every time. I hope it will grace your table this fall or any season the mood strikes.

Your Favorite Fall Dessert | Strawberry Cardamom Torte

Next time you’re trying to create a dessert that dazzles, think about adding strawberries as the star of the show no matter what time of the year!

Your Perfect Fall Dessert | Strawberry Cardamom TorteCheck out more California Strawberry Recipes here!

Strawberry Cardamom Torte
Serves: 8-10 Servings
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • About 30 strawberry halves, cleaned and hulled
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp each cinnamon + cardamom for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-inch springform (you can use a different 9-inch baking dish but the springform will deliver the prettiest torte).
  2. In a medium bowl (or an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment), cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the 2 large eggs and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add directly on top of the butter mixture the flour, baking powder (I take extra effort to sprinkle the baking powder evenly about) and sea salt. Mix until just combined. This batter is crazy thick…you’ll think it’s wrong, but it’s not.
  4. Spoon the torte batter into the buttered springform and use the back of the spoon to evenly smooth the batter out to the edges of the pan.
  5. Place strawberries in a concentric pattern on the torte batter. Do not press them into the batter, just rest them on top. Place them close together; you’ll be surprised how they shrink and sink whilst baking.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the torte evenly with the 1 tablespoon of sugar, lemon juice, cardamom and cinnamon.
  7. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes and run a knife around the edges of the pan before trying to get it out.
Notes
Nutrition information calculated based on a 10-slice yield.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 221 kcal Fat: 10 g Saturated fat: 6 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 29 g Sugar: 19 g Sodium: 74 mg Fiber: 1 g Protein: 3 g Cholesterol: 62 mg


8 Easy Strawberry Snacks

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Roll-ups

When it comes to healthy eating, there seems to be so many complicated ideas on how to actually execute.  Fortunately, healthy eating can be easy and doable, thanks to simply adding a single serving of California Strawberries: 8 A Day, 8 ways.

Clinical research suggests eating just a serving of eight strawberries is good for the whole body, promoting heart health, diabetes management, supporting brain health, and reducing the risk of some cancers.

How can you get in 8 strawberries every day? Easy. Here’s 8 ways to eat 8 strawberries a day:

  1. Overnight Strawberry Oats: In a medium-size mason jar, combine 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, 3/4 cup milk and 8 chopped strawberries. Cover and chill overnight in the fridge. Enjoy for a grab and go filling breakfast.
  2. Strawberry Yogurt Parfait: Top 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with 8 chopped or sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup granola.
  3. Smoothie: Blend 1/2 cup ice, 1 banana, 8 strawberries and 3/4 cup milk (more if needed).
  4. Salad: Top spring mix with grilled chicken, sliced almonds, crumbled goat cheese and 8 sliced strawberries. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar for dressing.
  5. PB & Strawberry Roll-Up: Layer a whole grain, high fiber wrap with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter and sliced strawberries. Roll up and slice into pinwheels.
  6. Cottage Cheese & Strawberries: Top 3/4 cup cottage cheese with 8 sliced or diced strawberries.
  7. Crackers, Avocado & Strawberries: Top large whole grain crackers with mashed avocado and sliced strawberries.
  8. Strawberry Flatbread: Top mini whole grain naan with fresh basil, sliced strawberries, and fresh mozzarella slices. Broil for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction.

If you’ve never tried some of these combos, I’m telling you that it’s time!

Strawberry Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are so easy to make, so easy to eat the next day and so darn delicious. The natural sweetness of delicious strawberries are really all the flavor you need.

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Roll-ups

The PB & Strawberry roll-up answers that long debated question, “Should I use jelly or does it have too much sugar?” Problem solved by using naturally sweet, and low in sugar, California strawberries.

Smashed Avocado and Strawberry Crackers

While you might not know that avocado and strawberry go fantastic together, you will after trying them on a tasty cracker. This is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up snack.

Strawberry Basil Flatbread

And the flatbread…the flatbread!!! It’s strawberry magic. The balsamic reduction (I found it already made at the grocery store) is the icing on the cake, or the flatbread. This is a meal or appetizer you can have ready in under 10 minutes.

I’ve found that many of these ideas have become staples in our week as whether school time or the summer months. Thankfully, strawberries are available year-round!

Enjoy!

By Jenna Braddock, RDN

Jenna-BlogSignature-citrus

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to check out more of our recipes for delicious ideas!


PB & Strawberry Sushi

Peanut Butter + Strawberry Sushi

Begin this school year with a fresh new lunch idea from CA Strawberry Ambassador, Dietitian and Lunchbox-Packing Mom, Holley Grainger: PB & Strawberry Sushi!
All you need is 5 minutes and 3 ingredients! Your kids will love this fun and tasty lunch!

PB & Strawberry Sushi

Just use PB & fresh strawberries, or an alternative to nut butters!

It’s hard to believe we are already heading back to school!  A new year calls for new backpacks, pencils, binders, and of course lunches. Whether you have been off of lunch duty for the summer, or you have been packing lunch for your kids’ summer camp, it’s always nice to have new lunch ideas. Sure a turkey and cheese sandwich is easy to make, but so are these PB & Strawberry Sushi Rolls. Ready in less than 5 minutes, everyone has time to throw these together. Best of all, I bet you already have most of the ingredients on hand.

All you need is a whole wheat flour tortilla, peanut butter, and strawberries. That’s it! Did you know that strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C? They even have more vitamin C per serving than an orange! This recipe calls for a cup of strawberries (this is about 8 strawberries). Clinical research suggests that eating a serving of eight strawberries is good for the whole body, promoting heart health, diabetes management, supporting brain health, and reducing the risk of some cancers.

PB & Strawberry Sushi

Spread the peanut butter onto the tortilla. Add diced strawberries and roll the tortilla inward into a tight long roll. Make sure that you have peanut butter on the edge of the tortilla. This will help your roll stick together and will create a “seal”. Cut into 1 inch pieces with a sharp knife and serve with cut side facing up. You can add some flax or chia seeds to the roll for added nutrients. They can also be made with sunflower, almond, or cashew butter.

PB & Strawberry Sushi

Serve with a crisp strawberry salad to add some crunch!

If you want to make this lunch really fun for the kids, send with chopsticks and a note that says, “You’re on a “roll” keep up the good work!” They will be so surprised and love the sweet note from you!

PB & Strawberry Sushi

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
PB & Strawberry Sushi
Recipe type: Lunch
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 sushi roll
 
Begin this school year with a fresh new lunch idea- Strawberry Sushi! All you need is 5 minutes and 3 ingredients! Your kids will love this fun and tasty lunch!
Ingredients
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (can substitute with sunflower seed butter or almond butter)
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Place tortilla on a cutting board and spread with peanut butter. Making sure the peanut butter reaches the edges.
  2. Dice the strawberries and place on the edge of the tortilla in a line.
  3. Roll strawberries in the tortilla. Ensure the edge is “sealed” with peanut butter.
  4. Cut roll into 1 inch squares and arrange on a plate/ lunch box with cut side facing up.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 409 kcal Fat: 19 g Saturated fat: 4 g Unsaturated fat: 14 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 47 g Sugar: 15 g Sodium: 247 mg Fiber: 9 g Protein: 13 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

 


Strawberry & Asparagus Freekeh

Strawberry Freekeh Salad with Asparagus

Move over, potato salad and coleslaw — strawberry salad is coming through! Make room at the picnic table for Grilled Strawberry Freekeh Salad with Asparagus any weekend! This strawberry salad is filled with flavor and nutrients!

Grilled strawberries and asparagusThe grill is on, right? It’s time to throw asparagus on–a no-brainer–AND skewered strawberries (trust me) to make this simple side salad that will elevate your typical picnic fare.

I’m adding strawberries to ALL of my grain-based salads these days.   This salad requires a tiny bit of grilling for the strawberries-just to soften and release some of the juices as it adds to the flavor of the salad. This particular salad uses the ancient grain Freekah, which is actually a process which means “to rub”. It’s a high protein, high fiber whole grain that works well with many flavors.

Grilled Strawberry and Asparagus Freekeh Salad

The ingredients in this salad make for a well balanced, healthy, nutrient-rich recipe.  The real beauty is that different grains can be substituted as can different nuts and even veggies.  The one thing you DON’T want to change are the strawberries! Why?

Strawberries are a nutritional powerhouse:

  • Strawberries are naturally sweet but low in sugar (only 7 grams per cup), and provide a unique combination of essential nutrients, dietary fiber and health-promoting phytochemicals.
  • One serving of eight medium strawberries is only 45 calories. 
  • CA strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C: More vitamin C per serving than an orange and 110% of the daily value.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out more of our recipes!

Strawberry & Asparagus Freekeh
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 6-8 stalks of asparagus
  • ¾ cup cooked Freekeh (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 tbsp shaved/grated Parmesan or 6-8 shaved pieces
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, toasted (optional) and chopped
  • ½ tbsp olive oil plus ½ tbsp for drizzle
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 skewers (soaked in cold water if wooden)
Instructions
  1. Turn on grill and set to medium heat.
  2. While the grill is preheating, cook Freekeh according to package directions.
  3. Clean, wash and dry asparagus stems. Place asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake gently to coat the asparagus. Place on grill and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved.
  4. While asparagus is cooking, clean and dry whole strawberries (leaving stems intact) and thread onto skewers. Place on grill for about 2-3 minutes or until the strawberries are just soft. Remove from skewers; remove the stems and cut into halves or fourths.
  5. When asparagus is cooked, remove from grill and allow to cool. Chop into 1-inch pieces.
  6. In a large bowl, gently toss ¾ cup of the cooked Freekeh, strawberries, asparagus and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with freshly grated or shaved Parmesan.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 213 g Calories: 270 kcal Fat: 11 g Saturated fat: 2 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 39 g Sugar: 6 g Sodium: 50 mg Fiber: 7 g Protein: 10 g Cholesterol: 2 mg


Strawberry and Turkey Pinwheels

Strawberry and Turkey Pinwheels

Strawberry and Turkey Pinwheels

We’re used to tossing strawberries into our shopping carts, but new research shows that America’s favorite fruit may also keep us at our healthiest. Since November is both American Diabetes Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we thought we’d share the good news that eating strawberries regularly can be an effective way to help prevent and manage diseases that affect millions of Americans and their families.

New research conducted at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts suggests that dietary intervention with strawberry fruit may be an effective means of combating age-related cognitive decline. And that’s not all. Research also shows strawberries can play a role in management and prevention when it comes to diabetes as well. Harvard University researchers unveiled this year at the American Diabetes Association’s 75th Scientific Session the results of a Women’s Health Study showing that compared to women who rarely or never ate strawberries, those who ate strawberries at least once a month had a lower risk for developing diabetes.

Because of the many benefits that strawberries provide, health professionals and dietitians recommend eating strawberries regularly, as part of a healthy diet. To see how many different ways you can add strawberries to your meals, visit www.californiastrawberries.com, and be sure to check out the video of dietitian Regan Jones as she prepares  healthy Strawberry Turkey Pinwheels that the whole family will love!

Enjoy!

Strawberry and Turkey Pinwheels
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 pinwheels
 
This quick and easy pinwheel recipe pairs the natural sweetness of strawberries with whole grain bread plus protein-rich goat cheese and turkey to keep you feeling fuller longer It’s a well-balanced, tasty snack and the perfect addition to your Diabetes Meal Plan. Yield: 1 serving (serving size: 4 pinwheels)
Ingredients
  • 2 fresh California strawberries
  • 1 piece of 100% whole wheat or other whole grain bread (choose a wide loaf for best results)
  • ½ tablespoon goat cheese, at room temperature (may substitute ⅓-less-fat cream cheese, if preferred)
  • 1 thin slice low-sodium roasted turkey breast
  • 2 to 3 spinach leaves
Instructions
  1. Trim ends off of strawberries; cut into pieces and mash with a fork.
  2. Trim short ends of bread slice. Spread goat cheese over half of bread slice; layer with mashed strawberries, turkey and spinach leaves.
  3. Starting with the short side of the bread, carefully roll up bread and press firmly firmly with hands.
  4. Trim ends of roll and slice into 4 pinwheels.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 pinwheels Calories: 169 kcal Fat: 4 g Saturated fat: 1 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 24 g Sugar: 5 g Sodium: 413 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 6 g Cholesterol: 15 mg

 


Strawberries for Back-to-School Nutrition

California strawberry fruit bowl

Eating a healthy diet is key to a child’s development, school performance, and overall health. However, getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables can be challenging. One key is starting with fruits and vegetables kids like and building on that – such as kid-friendly fruits like strawberries.

This past summer I had the pleasure of expanding my knowledge about the science, agriculture, and culinary delights of strawberries. I was invited on a sponsored harvest tour on California’s Central Coast and got to speak with farmers, researchers, and chefs to learn about the farm-to-table journey of strawberries. To share with you some of the insights I learned on the trip, here are my #12Reasons strawberries are ripe for back-to-school nutrition.

1. Low In Calories – High In Fiber

One cup of sliced strawberries contains only 54 calories and has 3 grams of fiber. Eating foods low in calories and high in fiber is important for weight management and overall health.

2. Boost Vitamin C Intake

A powerful antioxidant important for maintaining connective tissue and immunity, vitamin C is found in abundance in strawberries. With more vitamin C than an orange and loaded with nutrients, California strawberries are a nutritious and versatile fruit to enjoy every day.

California strawberry fruit bowl

3. Benefit Bone Health

Strawberries contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K, which are important for bone health. For added bone-building nutrition, enjoy strawberries with milk or yogurt for added calcium.

4. Ultimate Convenience

Strawberries are wash and go fruits that can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways. Whether you pack some whole in a lunchbox, make a fruit salad to keep in the fridge, or include them in a savory dish like sautéed salmon, strawberries work with practically everything, adding a boost of nutrition, flavor, and color.

5. Support Family Farmers

With family farmers growing 90 percent of the nation’s strawberries in California, odds are the strawberries you’re enjoying came fresh from the Golden State. Enjoying strawberries makes it easy to give back to family farmers and teach your children where their ruby fruit comes from.

California strawberry farmer

Owners of Providence Farms, Tom and Ruth Jones have been growing strawberries and blackberries in the Salinas Valley and Santa Maria for 28 years. Continuing the family farm legacy, their daughters help out as needed and their son Parker is a ranch manager.

6. Always In Season

While most fruits and vegetables have a limited growing season, I was surprised to find out that California strawberries are harvested and freshly available year round.

7. Perfectly Portioned Dessert

Another reason I love California strawberries is that they make for an easy and delicious dessert as is or topped with chocolate (yum!). Two chocolate-dipped strawberries have about 100 calories and is usually all I need to feel satisfied. Now what kid wouldn’t go for that?

Chocolate Covered California Strawberries

8. Reduce Added Sugars

With children and adults consuming 3-4 times the amount of added sugar that is recommended for good health, finding (non depriving) ways to cut down on added sugars is key. Naturally sweet, one cup of sliced strawberries contains just 8 grams of naturally occurring sugar (and 57 calories), while a cupcake has 31 grams of added sugars (and 320 calories).

9. Kids Love Finger Foods

Getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables can be challenging. One simple trick that has been shown to get children to eat more produce is simply cutting it. However, to make it even easier, strawberries already come in the perfect size for kids to enjoy with their hands. Simply rinse off the berries and serve them with a fun dipping sauce.

10. Make Recipes More Kid –Friendly

Whether you’re serving French toast, cereal, or yogurt, adding fresh strawberries to the mix is going to make it all the more appealing for kids. For kids, I love cutting up toasted whole-grain waffles into small squares and skewering them with fresh strawberries to make a breakfast berry kabob. It makes for a really fun and nutritious breakfast in five minutes or less.

11. Promote Eye Health

Studies show that the antioxidants in berries reduce the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases. While your kids are still too young to worry about macular degeneration, as a parent steady strawberry intake might just help you keep a better eye on what they’re up to!

12. Simply Delicious

Maybe the most important reason to eat strawberries… they are simply delicious! Whether you like them clean off the stem, sliced for a topping, or heated into a sweet sauce or jam, strawberries provide taste, nutrition, and versatility that are appreciated at any age.

About Patricia Bannan

Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D., is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. She develops news segments for television stations, writes articles for magazines, and serves as a consultant and spokesperson to PR agencies and industry groups nationwide. She is the author of Eat Right When Time Is Tight: 150 Slim-Down Strategies and No-Cook Food Fixes.

Disclosure: While I was compensated by the California Strawberry Commission to write this blog, all opinions are my own.