Food 101: Clementines, a 35-Calorie Holiday Treat


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

This time of year, I can resist the candies, the cookies and the cakes. It's the clementines that catch my eye.

Called Christmas oranges because they are in peak season between November and January, the diminutive orange fruits are a holiday tradition.

From the time they first appear in stores, I keep a box in our house. A half-dozen or so take up residence on my desk and must constantly be replenished. A couple of others end up in my purse for on-the-go snacking. And the rest are displayed on a platter in the kitchen so my Vitamin C fix is never out of reach. I keep these seedless sweeties on hand until at least the first of the year. By then, I'm usually burned out on them!

Clementines (and their much-confused brethren, tangerines) are guilt-free holiday treats.

Nutrition info:
35 calories, 0 g fat, 1 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 1 g protein,
1 g fiber, 60% RDA vitamin C

How to pick them:
Clementines should be slightly hard but have some flexibility in their skin, heavy for their size, and not have any deep grooves. They should be bright orange in size. The skin should feel smooth and thin.

Some tips:
  • Keep a platter or bowl of clementines or tangerines next to the cookie platter at your next party.
  • Get rid of the candy bowl. Replace it with a bowl of clementines. (Place a smaller bowl next to it to hold peels.)
  • The fruit is easy to peel and not too messy, so throw them in your purse, leave them on your desk and put them in the kids' lunch bags.
  • Grab a clementine the next time you crave something sweet. It's much better than reaching for a cookie.
  • Instead of giving a platter of cookies or a cake as a holiday gift, give someone a box of clementines.
  • Feel free to eat more than one. At 35 calories each, you're certainly not doing much damage!
  • Peeling and segmenting the fruit slows you down and allows you to really enjoy your snack.

Are you a fan of clementines and tangerines? How do you eat them?
(Photo: of the clementines currently on my desk)

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  • 189
    I didn't grow up having clementines because a) in Florida where I grew up in the 60's and early 70's, the grocery stores didn't seem to have much in the way of oranges (I guess because Florida sends them all out of state??), and we didn't observe Christmas for spiritual reasons. But I "discovered" them shortly after we married and moved to the community where we live now, and I fell in love with them. I couldn't stand them while I was pregnant but then after our son was born we started eating clementines all summer. It was easy to feed my son. Then when he started kindergarten, I brought clementines to his class for "snacks". I was acutely aware that our school was around 80-90% "Free Lunch Eligible", and so I tried to make our snacks as healthy as possible. The first time I brought in clementines, his teacher looked at me like I was crazy! Evidently, her only experience with citrus fruits must have been hard-to-peel oranges or something, not sure. She was asking if I would be here to help peel the oranges, and I said "You won't have to! They are so easy to peel - my son loves them because he can "do it myself", and they aren't so juicy that they make a huge mess." So she said okay and when I came to pick him up at the end of the day, she just gushed on and on about how much the kids just loved peeling them and she had no problems with it and ...on and on... just loved it. So the rest of that winter, I probably brought in one or two bags a week (they encouraged all the parents to take turns bringing in snacks, but many could not afford to bring anything of course, or didn't have the time flexibility of bringing something in.). - 12/30/2016   1:28:11 AM
    I LOVE Clementines - They are my Favorite Winter Fruit ! I always have a box in the house from Nov - Jan. The Grandkids love them too and are constantly snacking on them. - 10/15/2011   5:12:06 PM
    Aren't clementines just a variety of tangerine? We've been eating both for eons (at least since the last millenium :^). The "cuties" variety are even better, but they've been hard to find around here this year. - 1/6/2011   5:32:00 PM
    Clementines rock! - 1/4/2011   4:53:02 AM
  • 185
    Love Clementines! I eat them as snacks, with yogurt, and on salads. The kids love them too! - 12/30/2010   10:09:16 PM
    Where is the icon to print this article or any article from health lifelong blog
    - 5/8/2009   10:40:36 AM
    Where is the icon to print this article or any article from health lifelong blog
    - 5/8/2009   10:40:35 AM
    Where is the icon to print this article or any article from health lifelong blog
    - 5/8/2009   10:40:34 AM
    Where is the icon to print this article or any article from health lifelong blog
    - 5/8/2009   10:40:34 AM
  • 180
    I love clementines. For me they are candy. I eat them all year round pretty much. - 4/5/2009   1:11:36 AM
  • 179
    Clementines are the best, I have them almost all year round. - 12/27/2008   4:55:44 AM
  • 178
    We call them Chinese oranges or mandarins. - 12/22/2008   5:30:10 AM
  • 177
    I love clementines.......I bought some today when I did my grocery shopping. They are very easy to peel and are better then a cookie or piece of candy. - 12/14/2008   6:57:36 PM
    Oh Clementine, Oh Clementine, how is thy fruit so healthy? Not even through the autumn's breeze, but even in the winter's freeze... la-la-la-la... la-la-la-la... your juices are sooo YUMMY!! LOL!! My children would think Christmas was really weird if they didn't find this delicious treat in the bottom of their stockings! - 12/11/2008   1:46:15 PM
  • 175
    I can't resist these either! SO Yummy! I have a half dozen within reach at my desk right now. - 12/10/2008   12:44:48 PM
  • VONNIE130
    I love them as well, my kids enjoyed clementines. - 12/10/2008   8:11:04 AM
    Yes,I've had a couple today. they are yummy & all the stores are featuring them & keeping the price down, that's a plus. - 12/10/2008   12:23:34 AM
  • 172
    It was kinda funny to run across this article, I bought my first bag of clementines last night! I might try a couple with the cloves.... - 12/9/2008   11:08:26 PM
  • 171
    Hey MyKidBryten,

    Iíd never thought of studding clementines to make pomanders. I love orange and clove ornaments but clove is so expensive I rarely make them. It wouldnít take nearly as much clove to cover a Clementine. They would probably dry faster too for preserving. Donít think Iíd eat them though, I like the smell of clove but not the flavor so much.
    - 12/9/2008   10:32:30 PM
  • 170
    These are my favorite!! I look forward to them every year! - 12/9/2008   10:25:00 PM
  • 169
    Clementineís are wonderful. Easier to peal than oranges, usually sweeter, and most important for me is that they are small. I donít really love fruit that much (except strawberries or a nice melon of course) and I donít want to have to large portions at one time. Just a little bit. All these giant apples and oranges they are trying to push in the produce section of the supermarkets are in no way appealing to me. These little things are just perfect though. - 12/9/2008   10:03:30 PM
  • 168
    I saw this blog this morning while at work, and while I am sure I have seen clementines before (I probably just assumed they were small oranges) I am pretty sure I have never had one. It sounded interesting though, so this evening while at Wal-Mart I thought I would look for them, and *Poof* there they were right at the beginning of the fruit section. So, I had to purchase a small package of them to see what all the fuss is about. I am eating my second one right now as I type with a 1/4 cup of almonds because I made the mistake of eating too sweet cake earlier and now I am queasy and ravenous. This should hold me over until dinner though. I just wanted to say thanks for the heads up about these because otherwise I would have never known, I only wish I had known a little earlier in the season.

    Cym - 12/9/2008   8:47:50 PM
  • 167
    One of my all time favorites. I just wish they weren't so costly (at least where I live they are). - 12/9/2008   4:53:02 PM
  • 166
    Clementines have been a holiday favorite of mine for years! FINALLY, SparkPeople got them on the database - I remember when they were not!!!
    I love them. Your picture has EXACTLY the same number of clementines on your desk that are on my own desk!!! - 12/9/2008   1:25:20 PM
  • 165
    I love them. I just bought some yesterday and had 2 already today! - 12/9/2008   11:49:48 AM
  • 164
    I will definately give these a try! Thanks. - 12/9/2008   11:35:38 AM
  • 163
    Not only do I love them, but my picky eater daughter will eat them...sometimes as many as 5 in one day! At least I know she's getting some good nutrition. I'm buying a box every 5 days or so! - 12/9/2008   10:50:21 AM
  • 162
    These disappear so fast at my house. The kids love them. - 12/9/2008   7:27:19 AM
  • 161
    I'm so addicted to these, I buy a whole crate a week when they are in season. - 12/8/2008   11:07:33 PM
  • 160
    i've been eating like 4 of these a day! Yummy! - 12/8/2008   9:14:52 PM
  • 159
    LOVE these! - 12/8/2008   9:08:42 PM
  • 158
    I LOVE clementines. They're so delicious and easy to eat. - 12/8/2008   4:50:08 PM
  • CHRIS2365
    Between the four of us, we go through at least 10 pounds a week - it's crazy! Thank goodness they're cheap around here (well under $1 per pound). - 12/8/2008   12:32:38 PM
  • 156
    I just recently saw these at Trader Joe's. This article (and comments) encourage me to give them a try. - 12/8/2008   12:18:01 PM
  • 155
    We are on our second bag of these awesome cuties! I love that they are seed free and very easy to take along for snacks. - 12/8/2008   10:25:26 AM
  • 154
    We love clementines. Have you seen the honey rock tiny little itty bitty ones. Some of them are about an 1/2 inch in size. This year I just found them in little tiny crates. The kids love them they call them baby oranges and these ones are sweeter than regular clementines. I always have them on hand when available. I used to think they were expensive but then I thought how much we spend on donuts, candy, chocolate bars etc. They are a bargain when you think in those terms. - 12/8/2008   10:22:12 AM
  • 153
    my friend had some on her counter and she gave me one and yum! i don't eat oranges too often cuz they're so messy, but these are easy to peel and my hands are not all sticky afterwards! And they're only 35 calories-Yeah! - 12/8/2008   9:53:05 AM
  • 152
    I LOVE clementines! I'm always so glad to see them make their way into the stores every year. :) - 12/8/2008   9:00:05 AM
  • 151
    We are huge fans of Clementines here in our house. My fingers smell like citrus from sun up to sun down. My son loves them as much as I do, and my husband (who might be seriously in shape, but whose diet leaves a bit to be desired, lol) is even known to grab a few for work. Price isn't an option for me. the fact that they taste better than cookies and cost less (far less clementines satisfy a sweet tooth than do cookies or candy!) makes them worth the purchase. Its funny though, I don't like plain old oranges nearly as much, and besides the peeling factor, there isn't much difference. Maybe I should start getting into an orange habit in the spring? :) - 12/8/2008   8:46:19 AM
    I love clementines, but they seem to be so expensive, so I don't really buy them as much as I'd like. Also, when I do buy them, they go so stinkin' fast!! We can easily eat 3 at a time!! LOL!! - 12/8/2008   8:31:06 AM
  • 149
    I LOVE clementines! I get so excited when I see them is the stores in the fall/winter! - 12/8/2008   1:16:53 AM
    I LOVE produce education as I am so lacking. Thank you so much for tips on how to look for which ones to buy. I didn't know they were a mandarin. I also thought all 'little oranges' were tangerines. I always thought clementines were just a woman's name that a song was once made up about. Guess I'll be singing "Oh Clementine" with different thoughts this year. - 12/8/2008   12:46:33 AM
  • 147
    these to my family are one of the BEST PARTS of xmas lol..seriously tho we do love them..can't keep them in the house long..sooo we buy 2 a week and hate it when January comes and they are gone! - 12/8/2008   12:41:07 AM
  • 146
    I bought some clementines last week...YUMMY (and lo-cal too)! :) - 12/8/2008   12:30:19 AM
    TOWHEE, if the ones you bought had lots of seeds, I am not so sure that you actually ate true Clementines. They are seedless and should not have had any seeds. The only time they MIGHT contain seeds is if bees have cross-pollinated them with other citrus fruit during the growing phase. Farmers are usually not allowed to sell them as true Clementines if they have been altered by cross-pollination. And BTW, Clementines ARE mandarin oranges...the smallest variety of them! - 12/8/2008   12:22:41 AM
  • 144
    Clementines are our favorites. to Clementines tangelos are my favorites too. - 12/7/2008   10:52:56 PM
  • 143
    I love them. They didn't use to be so widely available; they were more of a Christmas treat. We'd get the ones that come individually wrapped in the green paper cups. Now, you can buy other brands all winter. They're pretty inexpensive, so I get a box almost every week. - 12/7/2008   9:23:03 PM
  • 142
    I bought some clementines last week. They were hard to peel (I had to use a paring knife) and had plenty of seeds.
    I'll go back to tangerines or mandarin oranges. - 12/7/2008   3:56:34 PM
  • 141
    I love tangerines but not sure if I have had clementines unless thinking they were tangerines - how are they different?
    - 12/7/2008   3:13:57 PM
  • 140
    I'll have to pick up a box next time I see them. I've had them before. It would be a nice change from my usual apple a day. - 12/7/2008   12:35:21 PM

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