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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    I have some in the frig as we speak. I peel a few and put them in a Ziplock bag. - 12/7/2008   11:03:22 AM
  • 138
    I buy them all the time when they are in season, and go on sale, so yummy! - 12/7/2008   10:28:57 AM
  • 137
    I LOVE them too. Thank goodness they are healthy and only 1 point for 2 of them in the Weight Watchers world. A great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.. - 12/7/2008   6:56:29 AM
    I've seen them in stores but I've never actually had one. - 12/7/2008   4:42:52 AM
  • 135
    My whole family LOVES clementines!!! - 12/6/2008   11:33:27 PM
  • 134
    I bought a small crate of clementines at the local store and brought it into work. The entire crate was gone in 2 days!
    We all loved and enjoyed them. - 12/6/2008   8:34:17 PM
  • 133
    I've been eating them like crazy since Thanksgiving. I had no idea that they were that good for me. I was starting to feel guilty for eating 2 at a time. But now all I have to say is whoo hoo! - 12/6/2008   6:54:46 PM
  • 132
    I love them as well. It's always great that when the persimmons are going out, the clemantines are coming in. I have a big bowl on my counter! - 12/6/2008   4:32:05 PM
  • 131
    Boy, I love those guys and they look beautiful set out in a bowl. I'm so sad when the season ends! I have to limit myself to 2 at a time, or I'd eat the whole box. - 12/6/2008   3:47:33 PM
    A big fan! I eat them out of hand, of course. I like to put them in salad and to make salsa with them. Cut into bite sized pieces and mixed with coconut and chopped cilantro, they are a great conidment to serve with curries. - 12/6/2008   2:20:07 PM
  • 129
    Love Cutie Clementines! Those and Apples are my favorite so this time of year I actually manage to get some fruit in my body yay! - 12/6/2008   11:55:16 AM
  • 128
    I love them and love to share them! I take them to work and leave them in a basket at work for my co-workers as well as for me. - 12/6/2008   11:22:40 AM
  • 127
    We wait all year for those "little sweeties."
    They're delicious, easy to peel, leave your hands smelling so nice & 'citrussey' and they enhance our weight loss goals. Love 'em, love 'em, LOVE 'EM ! - 12/6/2008   11:20:09 AM
    I have been eating Clementines for years! They are fabulous. Since the season is short, on store or another generally have them on sale, so I also try to get a "bargain" at the same time. We are finishing our first box of the season already.... I, too, often eat two at a time. - 12/6/2008   10:03:02 AM
  • 125
    I always keep a few in my desk for a quick snack. The fresh peel in the wastebasket makes my office smell so fresh all afternoon! - 12/6/2008   12:46:21 AM
  • 124
    Take whole cloves and poke them into these in decorative shapes. Make great decorations and when ou peel them you get spices oranges! great flavor - 12/6/2008   12:20:25 AM
    Love them! Great ideas to place a bowl next to the cookies....I take fresh over baked everytime! - 12/6/2008   12:09:03 AM
    As soon as these hit the stores, my supervisor gives each of us one at work. That's where I got my first delicious taste of them. I love them, hubby won't eat them so I don't buy them since a whole box will probably spoil on me before I eat them all. But now that I know how low in calories they are, maybe I can eat a whole box and never feel guilty about eating the whole thing! - 12/6/2008   12:07:23 AM
  • 121
    I'll have to go get some. We eat oranges a lot, but I'm not well-acquainted with clementines. We always put oranges in our Christmas stockings, and my mom gave a basketful of oranges for her Christmas gift exchange at work (you could also use clementines). :D - 12/5/2008   11:58:00 PM
    Just bought them. - 12/5/2008   10:07:21 PM
    I love them, I can't wait until they are in the store. I wish they were available year round. - 12/5/2008   9:57:46 PM
  • 118
    Luv em.....thanks for reminding me! - 12/5/2008   7:19:34 PM
  • 117
    I love clementines and my kids love them too. Didn't know they were such a good treat healthwise. I usually eat them by the half dozen a go. At last, something I love to eat that I can splurge on!!! - 12/5/2008   6:56:18 PM
  • 116
    Clementines are my favorite too. Sweet & seedless--I love it. Oranges and other citrus are good but who likes spitting out the seeds? And you are right that they are easy to peel. What's not to like? - 12/5/2008   6:38:41 PM
  • 115
    I love clementines! It never would have occurred to me they would be so low in calories. Now I have to go to the grocery store... - 12/5/2008   6:32:59 PM
    I love them,they are my favourite kind of oranges! My children love them too! - 12/5/2008   6:15:03 PM
  • 113
    I love clementines, I'll eat 3 or 4 a day. - 12/5/2008   5:51:44 PM
  • 112
    I always buy clementines. they are like candy to us. I have bowls of clementines in the family room and the kitchen and need to replenish them daily. Tow years ago I bought about 15 boxes and gave them to my nieces, nephews, friends and some of our children's class mates for Christmas. Right now I have 1/2 a box left. So I better buy more this weekend. - 12/5/2008   5:29:49 PM
  • 111
    I always confuse clementines with tangerines.. I bought those real tangy tangarines (but they were called honey tangerines - not even close..) and decided not to buy another citrus fruit.. May be the box should say sweet? - 12/5/2008   5:28:51 PM
    What timing!! I JUST brought home a crate/box of them. I love these things and I had heard a broad range for their calorie count! How exciting to know they are so low in kcals! I mix them with green and red grapes and apple slices as a dessert. Much healthier and better than ice cream! - 12/5/2008   4:56:24 PM
  • 109
    I love them. They are so easy to just peal and eat. Perfect little snack. - 12/5/2008   4:28:10 PM
  • 108
    Sounds good. - 12/5/2008   3:12:17 PM
    These are my favorite treats! I will eat these over cookies any day!! I eat one with breakfast, 2 with lunch and 1 after dinner...I literally just can't get enough of them!!! - 12/5/2008   2:45:13 PM
  • 106
    You left out that they are easy to peel and have no seeds - making them super kid friendly. (I love oranges but having to peel them for the kids is such a pain). Any time the price on the clementines drops to a reasonable level I snap up a box. Yum Yum Yum! - 12/5/2008   2:14:27 PM
  • 105
    Love the mandarin oranges we always have at this time of year, and never tried a clementine but have them on my list, as I love oranges. Thanks for the heads up. - 12/5/2008   2:02:14 PM
  • 104
    So what's the difference between a clementine and a tangerine? - 12/5/2008   1:59:36 PM
  • 103
    Even though I live in Florida, I had never had a clementine until last week when a co-worker brought me one. It was so good - and so easy to eat. I like the taste of navel oranges better but they aren't as easily eaten. - 12/5/2008   1:58:04 PM
  • 102
    We live in a area where they are available locally. We usually buy big bags of the satsuma mandarins (cousins to the clementines), and then when the satsumas are gone, we revert to the clementines. Last year, we were eating clementines well into early Spring. Yummy fruits!!! - 12/5/2008   1:42:37 PM
  • 101
    My family loves clementines! I eagerly await the first arrival of them in the grocery store, and usually end up buying 5lbs of them a week since they are here for such a short time. It is a small gesture of friendship with my girlfriends and I to pluck a few clementines out of our purses to share whenever we meet in the holiday season. - 12/5/2008   12:45:14 PM
  • 100
    Not sure I've ever had a Clementine. But I never buy citrus......... Of course I have an orange tree, a lemon tree and two grapefruit trees!!! LOL - 12/5/2008   12:25:55 PM
  • 99
    I love clemetines! we bought a box for Thanksgiving and they were so sour I had to throw them out.Now I am leary about getting another...they retail for $8 here but we got them on sale for $4.99. - 12/5/2008   11:34:49 AM
    I got a burst of happy when I saw the blog title and also almost choked on the clementine I was eating. - 12/5/2008   11:24:16 AM
  • 97
    These have always been a favorite at my house. We go through several boxes every season. This year will be no exception, but the knowlege that they are a guilt free snack makes my morning. Off to get one from my lunch box for a snack right now!!! - 12/5/2008   11:10:26 AM
  • 96
    I look forward to this time of year so I can enjoy Clementines. They are one of my favorites! - 12/5/2008   11:09:40 AM
    never had them but will try them - 12/5/2008   11:08:15 AM
    I love clementines... You are right they aren't as messy as oranges. Another favorite is Mineola Tangelos from Mineola Florida. When my parents use to live there they would send us a case every January when they are in peak season.
    Thanks for reminding me of the clementines. - 12/5/2008   10:59:55 AM
  • 93
    I'm just like you Stepfanie, I keep them everywhere. I'm not much for candy and when I get a craving for something sweet, this is my go to. I also keep a bowl by the bed. - 12/5/2008   10:56:56 AM
  • 92
    Our favorite fruit for the season! We just got a case of the satsumas from our buying club on Tues and there is only one left!!! Great treat!! - 12/5/2008   10:48:28 AM
  • 91
    They are my favorite. - 12/5/2008   10:40:07 AM
  • 90
    Getting some today!!! Yum :) - 12/5/2008   10:39:07 AM

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