It’s natural to think that a renowned dietitian and celebrity chef would be pretty picky about the foods she eats. After all, only the best quality and best nutrition will do. And it looks like Ellie Krieger, MS, RD, found that perfect match with a little fruit known as the grape.
“It’s funny, I’m thoughtful about partnerships, but this one couldn’t be a better fit,” she told us about her new alliance with the California Grapes Commission. “I’m thrilled to partner with them,” she said, and added that the relationship hit the trifecta for healthy, delicious, and easy. Those are key components in everything Ellie does with food, and why she’s so very popular on her Food Network program and with her cookbooks.
She called the versatility of the grape remarkable, and went on to boast that the fruit is capable of much more culinarily than just snacking on a chilled bunch.
“Where to begin?” she said excitedly when asked how she prepares grapes in dishes and desserts.
She shared her newest discovery of freezing grapes – put the bag in the freezer and then let thaw slightly. When you take a bite, “they’re like little bursts of sorbet!”
That’s not all though. For as much as we’d like to think we’ve come up with a lot of inspired ideas for healthy eating, Ellie proved she’s boss. Try these great grape ideas all summer long:
- Jicama, Grape, and Cheddar Cheese Skewers
- Simmered in port wine with honey and served over ice cream
- Grape tarts
- Grapes and bananas drizzled with chocolate and frozen
- Tossed in a bulgur salad with herbs and feta
- Added to a pasta salad
- Grape caprese with mozzarella and basil
- Grilled chicken and grape skewers tossed with garlic, cumin, coriander and drizzled with honey
No matter how you eat grapes, just make sure you’re eating plenty of them. Ellie boasted of the tiny fruit’s nutritional profile, which is equal across red, green, or black grapes. Aside from the individual nuances of taste that each possess, they are little tiny powerhouses of antioxidants.
“You’ve heard of resveratrol in red wine?” asked Ellie. “Well, it’s one of literally dozens of antioxidant compounds found in grapes.” All of these antioxidants protect the body and can benefit heart health, brain health, blood pressure, and so much more.
A serving of red or green seedless grapes has only 34 calories! They’re so juicy and hydrating, as well as filling, making them a perfect snack. While no one should find themselves with the mindless munchies, if you do, grab a bunch of these.
As a busy mom to a nine-year-old daughter, Ellie says when she hears the drone of “I’m hungry,” she replies with, “There are grapes in the fridge!” She’s also the mom who shows up to school parties with a big bowl of grapes. She just washes them, clips them in to manageable clusters, and waits for the kids to devour them. “Grapes go faster than the cupcakes!”
While Ellie is busy telling the world to eat more grapes (and for good reason!) she is also keeping busy with more personal projects. She’s currently working on a revised edition of her Small Changes: Big Results book. “[That book] is basically the backbone of all the work that I’ve done,” she said of the book that holds her list of “usually, sometimes, and rarely” food lists. The new version will include a wellness plan that encompasses a whole-life approach with a small change being introduced every three weeks.
Ellie is also in the process of developing a brand-new cookbook that will focus on 30-minute week-night dinners. “I did 30 new recipes just last week,” she said of her busy schedule to complete the book that releases Fall 2013.
You’re sure to find plenty of new ideas in Ellie’s books for grapes, but until then, venture outside of the norm this summer by trying some of the juicy ideas she shared.
Try a few of our grape recipes: