1. Watermelon: A staple at summer barbecues, picnics and potlucks, watermelon is lower in fiber and higher in sugar than many other fruits. Not worried about extra calories? Watermelon does pack some potassium, vitamin C and cancer-fighting lycopene.
A better option: berries. Small, sweet and packed with nutrients, berries are one superfood that can impact your health far more than the typical fruit. Studies show that berries are an excellent source of disease-fighting antioxidants and offer greater anti-cancer activity than other fruits. And they have a stellar nutritional profile to boot. With only 50-90 calories per cup (depending on the type of berry) and 3-4 grams of fiber, it’s no wonder berries are considered a powerful weight-loss food. Toss berries into a spinach salad and add toasted pecans, add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to a bowl of mixed berries or nosh on them straight out of the carton (after washing, of course!).
2. Bananas: In addition to the 100-120 calorie price tag, bananas have a higher glycemic index (GI) than other fruits. What does that mean for you? The body digests and absorbs high GI foods more rapidly, causing blood sugar levels to fluctuate, explains Registered Dietitian and Chef Consultant Michelle Dudash. Choosing fruits with a lower glycemic index, on the other hand, can help prevent the spikes and crashes that make you feel hungry a short time after eating. That said, if you’re heading out on a run and you need some fuel, bananas’ fiber and energy-boosting potassium should help you hit your stride better than other fruits.
A better option (particularly if you’re camping out on the couch): apples. A small apple has a GI of 28 (compared to the banana’s 70). Apples take longer to digest, pack a ton of fiber (5 grams, compared to the banana’s 3) and they’re loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants — all for only 65-80 calories. Eat them whole, or spread them with almond or peanut butter for extra staying power.
3. Oranges: While there’s nothing wrong with oranges — in fact, they’re loaded with the antioxidant powerhouse, vitamin C — they do boast more sugar and calories than some other citrus fruits. And you definitely want to steer clear of the juice, which isn’t much better (in terms of calories) than soda.
A better option: grapefruit. According to Dudash, for the same amount of weight as an orange, half of a medium-sized grapefruit has a much lower GI rating (25, compared to 50 for an orange). What’s more, that same amount of grapefruit provides only 46 calories (an orange has 62). Add grapefruit slices to a summer salad or toss bits of grapefruit with green onions and rice vinegar and serve alongside tilapia or salmon.