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Enjoy the Goodness of Grapes for Healthy Snacks and Meals

May 16, 2019

( Family Features ) Establishing a regular pattern of healthy snacks and meals made from fresh, whole foods is essential to promoting good health. Fresh grapes always make a great snack because they are tasty, healthy and portable. Yet grapes can also be used as an ingredient to make good-for-you dishes that are just as satisfying as they are healthy.

According to an IFIC Food and Health survey, consumers are looking more and more to foods for health benefits, with cardiovascular health topping the list as the leading benefit sought. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium. Pairing heart-healthy grapes with other healthy ingredients – including fish, legumes, whole grains and vegetables – offers a vast array of options for nutritious make-at-home dishes.

In these recipes for Chicken Larb with Grapes, Trout with Grape and Lentil Salad, and Smashed Cucumber and Grape Salad, grapes add a juicy burst of flavor, vibrant color and crunch to deliver wholesome meals with bold flavors and fresh textures.

Go for a Grape Snack

Snacking, for many people, is a significant part of daily food consumption, thus making smart snack choices a vital part of promoting good health. According to a study conducted by Mintel, 94 percent of adults snack daily, and 55 percent of people said they snack 2-3 times per day. Grapes are a healthy and hydrating choice without the added fat, salt and sugar found in many processed snacks.

For more meal inspiration for healthy eating, visit GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

Trout with Grape and Lentil Salad

Servings: 4

3/4 cup green lentils, uncooked2 1/2 cups water2 tablespoons minced shallot1 1/2 cups halved red California grapes1/4 cup fresh chopped dill1/4 cup chopped walnuts2 tablespoons lemon juice1 teaspoon lemon zest1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, olive oil, divided1 cup arugula1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided4 trout fillets (4-6 ounces each), skin on1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

In medium saucepan, combine lentils with water. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow lentils to steam 5 minutes; drain and let cool.In medium bowl, combine lentils, shallot, grapes, dill, walnuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, arugula, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, to taste; set aside.Heat oven to broil. Move rack to highest position.Sprinkle trout fillets with lemon zest, remaining salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; brush with remaining olive oil. Broil trout 4-5 minutes. Serve with lentil salad.

Nutritional information per serving: 480 calories; 40 g protein; 36 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat (38% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 80 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.

Chicken Larb with Grapes

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced2 cups halved red California grapes2 tablespoons rice vinegar2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 pound ground chicken1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1-2 Thai chilies, thinly sliced2 teaspoons fish sauce3 tablespoons lime juice1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro3 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves4 cups steamed jasmine rice2 cups shredded green cabbage2 tablespoons chopped roasted and salted peanuts

In medium bowl, combine onion, grapes and rice vinegar; set aside.In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently until just cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Stir in chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro and mint.Divide rice between four serving dishes and top with chicken, cabbage, marinated onions and grapes; sprinkle with peanuts.

Nutritional information per serving: 540 calories; 26 g protein; 65 g carbohydrates; 19 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 100 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.

Smashed Cucumber and Grape Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

1 1/4 pounds English or Persian cucumbers, ends trimmed1 teaspoon kosher salt2 tablespoons rice vinegar1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce2 teaspoons granulated sugar1-2 teaspoons chili oil1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil1 cup halved California grapes2 scallions, thinly sliced2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Using rolling pin, smash whole cucumbers lightly, just enough to break open. Tear or cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and season with salt. Transfer to sieve and let drain 10 minutes.In large bowl, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil and sesame oil; stir in grapes and scallions. When cucumbers finish draining, add to bowl with grape mixture and stir to combine.Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 11 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g fat (32% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.