Who doesn’t love strawberries? They're sweet, delicious, and good for you. And the health benefits of strawberries are numerous, so you can feel confident consuming a whole lot of them.
Strawberries contain phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that — when eaten as part of a well-balanced diet — can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, control blood sugars in diabetes, help with cognitive health, and decrease inflammation.
Their natural sweetness makes them a great option for those trying to reduce added sugar intake, and lends itself to everything from breakfast recipes to desserts.
The Health Benefits of Strawberries
Did you know that it only takes eight strawberries a day to improve your health? Eight strawberries provide 50 calories; zero fat, cholesterol, or sodium; 11 grams of carbs; 3 grams of fiber; 8 grams of natural sugar; 1 gram of protein; 110% of your daily vitamin C; and 220 milligrams of heart-healthy potassium.
All of these perks also help reduce total cholesterol, LDL oxidation, inflammatory markers and increase blood folate levels, and can even possibly help to prevent weight gain and improve insulin sensitivity. This can lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease in at-risk populations. The little red fruits are rich in flavonoids, which give them their recognizable color, and act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. These two things may work together to offset the negative effects of oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and delay or slow age-related cognitive decline.
Spartans train hard and consistently, so they need food that helps performance. That's where strawberries come in.
How to Store and Prepare Strawberries
To maximize the health benefits of strawberries, they need some attention in order to stay edible. Since they're prone to moisture damage, you actually shouldn't wash berries until you're ready to eat them. Their outer layer works like a sponge, so washing them too early will leave you with a bowl of mush.
To keep them in the fridge, layer a pan or dish with paper towels (which will help catch any moisture before it can hurt the berries). Place them in a single layer as much as possible. Once ready to eat, trim off the top, wash under cool water, and enjoy. If you're stashing them in the freezer, stem, wash, and place in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can still get the health benefits of strawberries if they're frozen — and frozen berries are great for smoothies (or for baking later on).
7 Strawberry Recipes to Try Right Now
1. Vanilla Strawberry Protein Cupcake
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (chocolate works, too)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Dash of cinnamon
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 strawberry, chopped
- In a large coffee mug, mix protein powder, baking powder, and cinnamon. (Make sure it’s a big mug, because this cupcake will rise!)
- Stir in water until mixed well.
- Gently stir in chopped strawberry bits.
- Microwave 30-40 seconds.
2. Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup Maple Hill 100% Grass-Fed Organic Strawberry Kefir Honey to taste
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.
- Add additional water for desired thickness.
3. Strawberry Overnight Oats
- ½ cup milk of your choice
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- Mix all ingredients except strawberries in a 16-ounce mason jar or Tupperware.
- Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- When ready to eat, top with berries. (If using frozen berries, sprinkle with cinnamon and microwave for 60 seconds before putting them on top of your chilled overnight oats.)
4. Strawberry Avocado Toast
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 slices whole wheat or gluten-free bread of your choice
- ½ of a ripe avocado
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 tbsp crumbled goat or feta cheese
- Toast your bread.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mash avocado and then spread it on the toast.
- Sprinkle both pieces of toast with 1 tbsp of cheese crumbles.
- Layer each toast with ½ cup sliced strawberries.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction. To reduce the balsamic vinegar, bring ½ cup to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Let simmer until reduced by 75%, about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t reduce too much and burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it is of a syrupy consistency.
5. Spartan Peanut Butter and Jelly
- 2-3 strawberries
- 2 tbsp nut butter
- Wrap or bread of your choice (whole wheat or gluten free depending on your preference)
- Spread nut butter on your wrap or bread.
- Slice strawberries to desired thickness (to be used as the jelly or jam).
- Drizzle it with honey (optional).
- Roll up or top with your other slice of bread.
6. Seriously Simple Strawberry Compote
- 1 cup previously frozen, chopped strawberries (the thawing process will help release the natural sugars)
- ½-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½-1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
- Dash of cinnamon
- Using a pan over low heat, start to thaw the strawberries.
- Once half thawed, mix in the remaining ingredients and continue to stir until desired texture is achieved.
- Serve over grilled chicken or fish.
7. Strawberry Chocolate Chia Pudding
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- ¾ cup Maple Hill 100% grass-fed organic whole milk
- fresh or frozen strawberries
- Mix the milk, chia seeds, and protein powder in a Mason jar or Tupperware.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then put the berries on top and place in a fridge overnight.
- By morning, the chia seeds, milk, and protein powder will form a decadent fudgy pudding and the berries will be a boost of antioxidant sweetness.