Allyn Wergin, RDN
Diabetes Education, Nutrition
Often labeled a “superfood,” this little berry is bursting with vitamins and minerals, many of which are classified as antioxidants.
Much of the power of blueberries lies in their colors. The deep-blue hue comes from anthocyanin, an antioxidant whose abilities may help protect the body from heart disease and cancer, as well as reduce inflammation and increase immune function. Research also suggests the compounds found in blueberries may delay the effects of vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
A 1/2 cup serving of blueberries contains 25 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C and 3 grams of dietary fiber — and only 30 calories. In addition, blueberries are juicy fruits, which means they contain mostly water. Juicy fruits are great for weight loss or weight maintenance, because they fill you up quickly (with their high water content) with few calories.
Whether you’re eating blueberries for the health benefits, because you like the taste or both reasons, blueberries can easily be eaten plain. They can also be added to cereal, yogurt or incorporated into baked goods for added sweetness and nutrition. To prolong the shelf life of fresh blueberries, make sure to keep them refrigerated and wash prior to use.
During these summer months, be sure to take advantage of blueberries when they are plentiful and on sale by purchasing in large quantities and freezing them. Just wash and dry the berries, lay them on a pan, and freeze until they’re solid. Package frozen blueberries in freezer-safe storage bags so they are ready for the winter months. You can easily substitute frozen berries for fresh.
Blueberry baked oatmeal recipe
Yield: 12 servings
Total time: 35-40 minutes
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick, one-minute oats)
- 1 cup of nonfat milk
- 1 pint or 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Spray a 9” x 13” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.
- Stir in salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Once combined, stir in milk and oats. Fold in blueberries (fresh or frozen) and spread in pan.
- Bake for 26-32 minutes until oatmeal bake is browned and center appears cooked and not mushy.
- Cool before serving. Can be eaten alone or served with plain or vanilla yogurt.
Store in the refrigerator for two to three days. Freeze any leftovers individually for quick and easy snacks or breakfasts. Reheat oatmeal in microwave from frozen or thawed.
Nutrition Information (per bar): Calories: 140; Total Fat: 2 grams: Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Monosaturated Fat: 1 gram; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 gram; Trans Fat: 0 grams; Cholesterol: 31 milligrams; Sodium: 130 milligrams; Potassium: 82 milligrams; Total Carbohydrates: 26 grams; Dietary Fiber: 3 grams; Sugars: 10 grams; Protein: 4 grams