Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to School Brain Fuel – Cherries!

Now is the time of year when long summer days shorten, the weather begins to cool and school begins. Whether you’re headed back to school or looking for a nutritious addition to your everyday diet, incorporating cherries is an easy way to get anti-inflammatory antioxidant health benefits, as well as melatonin to help you sleep – allowing your brain, and body, to receive adequate rest to perform its best at school and work. So eat up, drink up and cherrify your concentration this fall by adding cherries to your diet.

Not sure how to do so? Here are some easy ways to add cherries to your Back to School or Work routine:

Fresh cherries – In many parts of the country, cherries are still in season this time of year (although soon coming to an end!). Pick some up at your local farmer’s market and pack with lunch, for a snack or after school/work pick-me-up. They are a sweet treat with packed with nutrition, without very many calories (one cup raw cherries is about 90 calories).

Tart Cherry Juice – Packaged in a small, compact 8 oz. bottle, cheribundi tart cherry juice is the perfect size for lunch boxes, backpacks, athletic bags, laptop bags or a purse. Take it with you anytime, for on-the-go an antioxidant packed punch that will energize your day. Looking to get more sleep? Drink two bottles of tart cherry juice per day to receive the benefits of naturally occurring melatonin (for more on tart cherry juice and sleep, check out this article).

Dried Cherries – Dried cherries are a school and work friendly snack in that they don’t require refrigeration of any kind, are extremely versatile and can be added to a variety of foods, and are tasty on their own! Add dried cherries to your breakfast for a boost of nutrition. Throw a handful in oatmeal, granola or in yogurt. Dried cherries are great as a snack in trail mix or on their own, can be added to salads, rice or other grains, and even dessert. Any way you eat them, dried cherries are a must for any back-to-school or busy work pantry.

Frozen Cherries – Get the health benefits of fresh cherries all year long by stocking up on frozen cherries. These preserved delights can be added to smoothies, or eaten on their own after thawing. Like dried cherries, they can also be added to many foods (including dessert!) for a cherrylicious twist. 

Desserts – Next time you make a cherry pie, crumble, cookies or any other type of delicious, cherry-packed dessert, cut a slice and wrap in foil or a put in a reusable container and add to your school or work lunch. Who said you can’t enjoy homemade dessert while away from home? 

We hope these back-to-school and work cherry tips gave you some food for thought. What other ways do you incorporate cherries into your school or work routine?

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