3 Citrus Hacks That Add Flavor, Not Calories

3 Citrus Hacks That Add Flavor, Not Calories

Header citrus photo

By Toby Amidor, MS, RD

This post was sponsored by the Sunkist. Photos courtesy of Sunkist. All thoughts are my own.

Did you know that citrus fruit are in season all year long? Luckily, many of these unheard of varieties (hello, pomelo!) are now available at your local grocery stores. Not sure which varieties to look for? This fabulous seasonality chart is a great resource to keep on hand. Filling your shopping cart with new, delicious varieties gives you more opportunities to experiment at home. Although many folks like to peel and eat most citrus fruit, these babies can also be used to add mouthwatering bursts of flavor to your food for few calories. Here are my top 5 favorite ways to do so.


Using a microplane to zest your lemon isn’t new, but here are some ideas on how to use that zest. First, try Meyer lemons that are subtly sweet, with lower acidity and refreshing herbal scent. A Meyer lemon’s rind can vary from bright yellow to rich yellow-orange and has a soft, smooth feel. It is available almost all year round.

Sunkist_meyer_lemon zest


Zest a Meyer lemon and use in my Lemon Meringue Yogurt Snack:

-3 vanilla wafers, crushed
-¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
-Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
-2 tablespoons dry-roasted chopped pecans

Place crushed wafers in a small bowl. Top with Greek yogurt and lemon zest and sprinkle with pecans.

To use the Meyer lemon juice, try it on my Israeli-Style Salad.

How about peeling and playing with the Gold Nugget, a variety of mandarin, named for its beautiful, bright and bumpy rind. Their bright, sparkling orange interior is exceptionally sweet. This baby is available mid-March through June.


So what do I love to do with Gold Nuggets? Dip them in dark chocolate, of course! Both the rind (cut into bite-size pieces) and the mandarin segments can be dipped in melted dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa), placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then immediately placed in the refrigerator to harden for about 10-15 minutes.

Mandarine dipped in melting dark chocolate

Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

The dark chocolate provides a boatload of antioxidants, while the Gold Nugget provides 20% the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, along with small amounts of numerous B-vitamins.

The juice of minneola tangelos has a bold, tangy flavor. The fruit is a cross between a grapefruit and tangerine. Minneola tangelos are usually identified by their knob-like formation at the stem and a deep red-orange exterior. They’re available mid-December through April.

Minneola Tangelos

Minneola juice can be combined with juiced pear and ginger for a yummy bevie.

Minneola Tangelo Pear Ginger Juice-1

However, I prefer replacing it for orange juice in a Screwdriver to get more flavor-depth in my cocktail. Either way, you’ll reap the nutritional benefits of this fruit which contains 100% of the recommended amount of vitamin C and 80% the recommended amount of folate per each fruit.

  • Nuzest Good Green Stuff
    Posted at 02:16h, 05 April Reply

    Citrus and oranges are major source of vitamin c but green chilies contains 6 times more vitamin c as compare to oranges.

  • Larry Lewis
    Posted at 17:21h, 21 April Reply

    From making lemonade to soothing sore throats, to helping your skin, hair and health, and dare I mention making a Whisky Sour, what a fantastic powerhouse of a fruit.

  • maryjane
    Posted at 04:55h, 27 June Reply


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