If you want to make your Saturday super sweet—and super fancy—have some pineapple. Those yellow rings have been a universal sign of the good life and hospitality since the 1700s, according to Southern Living. They’re also a great way to show yourself (and your health) some love, as the benefits of pineapple are countless.
One cup of pineapple chunks or rings provides more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C, which won’t just help you fend off colds, but fight fat: A 2006 study from Nutrition & Metabolism found that exercisers who didn’t have enough Vitamin C burned 25 percent less fat during their sweat session compared to those with the full complement of C.
And pineapple can help your post-workout meal go down easier, too: Bromelain, an enzyme found in the fruit, helps with digestion. Best of all, pineapple packs lots of sweetness without blowing your calorie budget: One cup has just 82 calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and counts as one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem.
Here are four ways to enjoy the benefits of pineapple —and all that sweetness—throughout your Superfood Saturday:
One of the many benefits of pineapple is its versatility when it comes to delicious desserts. Protein is a secret weapon in your war against overeating: It digests slowly, so your gut doesn’t empty too soon, leaving you reaching for a between-meal snack. The Vanilla Nutrisystem FreshStart Shake in this simple, sinful Piña Colada smoothie teams up with the sweetness of pineapple to help you build lean muscle and stay on track.
Check out this video to see how to make this sweet, post-breakfast (or anytime!) smoothie to keep you from feeling hungry before lunch: Piña Colada Protein Smoothie >
If you finish lunch and want something sweet, whip it! With just two ingredients—frozen pineapple and unsweetened almond milk—you can have a creamy frozen treat without guilt. So pull out the blender and check out this video to see how to enjoy this tropical treat: 2-Ingredient Pineapple Whip >
Whether you need to cool off from the summertime heat or just want to dream of the tropics to escape a winter day, pineapple is a refreshing way to escape to the beach—even if you can’t leave the house. Whip up a batch of these two-ingredient fruit popsicles for a decadent frozen treat that’s on hand all week for when sweet cravings strike: Strawberry Pineapple Popsicles >
Cooking pineapple—like peaches, watermelon and other fruits—actually makes it even sweeter by carmelizing all those natural sugars. And that’s good with more than just ham: It can add sweetness to meat dishes to take your grilling to a whole other level. Skewer the fruit with onion, bell pepper and skinless chicken breast chunks for a crowd-pleasing barbecue dish you can feel great about. Here’s another recipe you need to try: Pineapple Chicken Kebabs >