Mandarin oranges are one of the sweetest members of the orange family, and in fact, the term “mandarin” applies to an entire group of citrus fruits! Clementines, tangerines, sumo, and satsuma are all varieties of mandarin oranges. They are all smaller in size, bright orange, and have skin that’s easy to peel. Mandarins are commonly eaten as snacks because of their convenient small size, but they’re also popular in savory dishes and desserts!
Growing up, many of us may have had parents who were keen for us to drink a glass of orange juice with breakfast. And that habit stayed with us into adulthood. However, for people with diabetes, orange juice—and other juices—were probably among the first items we were counseled to avoid.
Benefits of Eating CitrusPeople with diabetes have to be sensible eaters and weigh the decision of which food choices to make. Consider this: Enjoying a small orange contains just 11 grams of carbs. Plus, it also has some protein, vitamin C, folate, calcium, and potassium.
Additionally, eating that orange provides fiber, which keeps our digestive system healthy, helps us feel full for longer, and decreases risks of heart disease, colon cancer, and obesity.
Better Ways to Enjoy Citrus
Does that mean we have to give up citrus juice entirely? No. However, we should consume it very modestly and discover new ways to incorporate it into other meals. For instance, a single tablespoon of orange juice has 1.6 grams of carbs. A tablespoon of lemon or grapefruit juice is even less: 1 gram.
But what can you do with a tablespoon of citrus juice? Try making a vinaigrette! Our Triple Citrus Vinaigrette uses all three fruit juices (check with your doctor if you’re on a statin drug that prohibits you from eating grapefruit).
Squeeze fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice on poultry or seafood before baking, roasting, or grilling. You can also mix a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice with vinegar to make a vinaigrette to add a blast of brightness.
Heading into the winter months, oranges, clementines, and mandarins make for a great snack option. If you don’t like to eat them plain, consider incorporating them into a recipe like arugula salad with mandarin oranges, fish tacos, an orange relish, or pineapple mandarin orange salsa.
For a more robust meal, you can slow roast thinly sliced lemons, limes, or oranges, along with sliced fennel, and jalapeño peppers to make a fragrant bed for pieces of cod, salmon, or any other fish you love.
Don’t forget the zest of fresh citrus! Alone or combined with the juice, orange, lime, or lemon zest can be the basis of a beautiful marinade for chicken, like our Citrus-Tarragon Chicken Kabobs.
While drinking citrusy juice can pack a wallop of sugar and carbs, there are still plenty of healthy ways to enjoy all the flavors of citrus in your favorite meals. Get creative!