When Zespri approached me to take part in their 14 Day Challenge, I couldn't have said yes any quicker. Firstly, Zespri kiwi's may technically be fruit, but for me, I might as well be eating candy. They are sweet, tangy, and always ripe to perfection. Secondly, hello! They are darn good for you too. And when does that ever happen? Something that is natural, tastes like dessert, AND healthy? Oh sign me up Zespri.
So here's how it works. Now pay attention because there is still time for you to sign up too (the challenge runs until the end of October). Head over to the Zespri Arabia Facebook page and register to take part in the14 Day Challenge. You must eat two kiwi per day for 14 days and simply complete a short questionnaire about your experience and the end of the two weeks. And what's in it for you? You'll be automatically entered into the draw to win a trip for two to New Zealand.
The New Zealand trip includes:
Seven nights in the Bay of Plenty
A helicopter flight over a Zespri orchard.
A 25 km Jetboat ride along the Kaituna river (http://goo.gl/l9kuqe)
Return flights to New Zealand with Qantas
A visit to a Zespri Kiwi orchard at Kiwi 360 (http://goo.gl/NFAUjn)
Score! Am I right?
If you need a little more incentive, take a look at the loads of heath benefits from incorporating this fuzzy little ball of yummy goodness into your daily diet:
- Kiwi's are loaded with fiber and are known to be a natural digestive aid. Step aside prunes, kiwi's offer better relief for bloating and blocked up bowels.
- Kiwi's pack TWICE the amount of vitamin C as compared to oranges.
- Think of kiwi's as being on top of the food chain when it comes to nutrients. Kiwifruit consistently rank at the top of fruit in nutrition density models which tell us exactly how nutritious food is. That means you get more vitamins and minerals per gram, and per calorie, of kiwifruit than most other fruit.
- Due to their high amount of natural antioxidants, kiwi fruits help to boost collagen production which may reduce the appearance of ageing (*note: do not attempt to smother your face with kiwi pulp hoping it will reduce lines and wrinkles, you'll just end up with a sticky, yet yummy mess)
- Eating two kiwi's a day has been proven to reduce the amount of oxidative damage to your cells and improve the repair of damaged Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) cause by oxidative stress.
- Kiwi's contain the highest amount of lutein in fruits which can help to prevent age related deterioration of eye-sight.
You may be thinking 2 weeks of kiwi, that might get a bit monotonous? I sat down before I started the challenge and made a list so each day I incorporated kiwi's into my diet in a new way. Here's some options to help you get started:
Malibu Rum Glazed Kiwi & Coconut Cake (click here for recipe)
Kiwi, Lime, & Mint Sorbet with Raspberry Sauce in a Cookie Cup (click here for recipe)
Kiwi & Peach Smoothie (see recipe below)
Frozen Kiwi Pops with Passion Fruit & Yogurt (see recipe below)
Whole grain waffles topped with kiwi, banana, and honey:
Yogurt topped with kiwi and dry cereal
White Chocolate, Kiwi & Mixed Berry Cobbler
For the filling:
10 Zespri kiwi’s, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (*if using frozen, first thaw and drain excess liquid)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
For the biscuits:
2/3 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Combine all the filling ingredients and pour into dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
While the filling is cooking, prepare the biscuit batter. Combine the milk and vinegar and let sit 5 minutes to curdle. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add sugar and stir to combine. Add the cold butter and cut into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry cutter until large crumbles form. Add white chocolate and mix to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle over the top.
Remove the pan from the oven and place large spoonfuls of batter over the top of the hot fruit. Sprinkle top of batter with the cinnamon sugar.
Place back in the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Let cool for 15 minutes and serve warm.
Kiwi & Peach SmoothieIngredients:
2 Zespri green kiwi, peeled & chopped
2 peaches, peed, pitted, & chopped
¼ cup oats
1-2 tablespoons honey
¾ cup skim milk
½ cup skimmed yogurt
Combine & blend all ingredients in blender. Pour over ice and drink immediately. Serves 2.Note: since this recipe contains 2 kiwi and serves 2 portions, I ate a sliced kiwi on the side in order to consume my 2 kiwi-daily limit for the challenge!
Frozen Kiwi Pops with Passion Fruit & Yogurt
4-5 peeled & coarsely chopped Kiwis
¾ cup passion fruit pulp (you can sieve out the seeds if you wish)
¾ cup flavored fruit yogurt (I used strawberry)
*quantities will vary depending on the size of your popsicle maker
Place chopped kiwis in a blender until smooth. Equally divide kiwi juice into the bottom of the popsicle tray, filling each compartment half-way full. Freeze until semi-solid. Do not freeze completely or you won’t be able to insert the popsicle stick. Remove from freezer and pour in the passion fruit pulp. Fill compartment with pulp until it reaches about ¾ full (including the kiwi juice). Place back into the freezer until the pulp is semi-solid. Remove from freezer and fill remainder of compartment with yogurt. Place sticks/base inside the popsicle and freeze until completely frozen.
As for my experience, over the course of the 14 days I certainly felt like I had a boost of energy after inhaling my 2 kiwis in one shot. Word to the wise, try to avoid eating them at bedtime...I had a few nights where I was left wide awake after having a late night-kiwi snack. Best to consume at breakfast or for an afternoon pick-me-up. Also, being 8 months pregnant, I sure loved having all the additional fiber in my system...if you know what I mean mamas! Over-all I whole-heartily enjoyed the challenge. It was truly rewarding to know everyday I was putting something so full of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants in my system that wasn't too high in calories and was such a hug of love for my body. I will most certainly be adding kiwi's to my daily diet from now on, challenge or no challenge.
Ready to register for the Zespri 14 Day Challenge? Visit the Zespri Arabia Facebook page for all the details.