A Taste of the Tropics

Beat the wintertime blues with a taste of the tropics. Tropical fruits will help you meet your daily fruit intake while providing you with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber. Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian, Jen Haugen, will share tasty ways to enjoy tropical fruits and share the health benefits of these fruits.

Tropical Fruits


The golden-orange flesh of a mango is juicy, sweet-tart and provides 100% of our vitamin C needs each day.  Mangos provide 30% of our vitamin A needs each day.  Mangos make a tasty treat when peeled, served plain, or combined with jalapeños and red onions for a spicy chutney, or pureed as sauce for French toast or pancakes.   


Papayas have a sweet, tart flavor and are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene and are a good source of folate. Papayas contain papain, an enzyme that may improve digestion and help break down proteins.  Look for papayas with richly colored skin free of dark spots, ripe papayas will yield to gentle pressure when squeezed. If ripe, refrigerate as soon as possible.  Try making a fruit salsa with fresh papaya.  Dessert sauces with pureed papaya and salad dressings with the edible seeds.

Star Fruit

Also known as the carambola, star fruit’s flavor varies from sweet to slightly tart.  Select star fruit that are mostly yellow, firm and shiny.  Store ripe star fruit in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped for up to one week.  Star fruit are a good source of vitamin C.  Slice them for snacks or salads or juice them to add to fruit drinks or smoothies.  Don’t worry about peeling them first.

Tropical Fruit Parfait

All you need:

  • 1 (6 ounce) container Chobani Coconut Greek Yogurt  
  • 1 cup Hy-Vee fresh-cut tropical fruit medley (pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut)
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts chopped

All you do:

1. Layer the yogurt, fruit and nuts in a glass

2. Enjoy!

Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.  Jen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.