It’s officially summer around here and that means tons of new seasonal produce. There are a few advantages to eating seasonal fruits and vegetables:
- they are usually cheaper when they are in abundance
- some researchers believe that our bodies are designed to eat seasonally, therefore we process them better
- seasonal produce is usually fresher since it doesn’t have to travel as far to reach our stores
- you can usually find seasonal produce that is grown locally, which can be better for you and the environment
That being said, I wanted to show you how great summers bounty can be. Look for recipes this summer that include these fresh fruits and veggies, or click their names to search for recipes and articles already posted.
Watermelon, possibly the most iconic summer fruit with memories drifting back to childhood of a hot summer day (and seed spitting contests with the other kids). Watermelon is actually a very healthy snack because it is full of water and fiber to keep you full and hydrated in the summer heat.
Try cutting it into cubes and storing in a sealed container in the fridge for a quick healthy snack later. A one cup serving has only 46 calories and a whopping 17% vitamin A and 21% vitamin C (based on RDA)
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile foods I know of. Besides being able to add them raw to sandwiches and salads, you can also put them in nearly any soup or sauce for added flavor. You can even throw them in the saute pan with other vegetables and cook them all together.
A half cup serving of tomato is only 16 calories, while providing 15% Vitamin A and 19% Vitamin C (based on RDA)
Summer Squash include varieties like yellow squash and zucchini. While other varieties are harvested year-round, these are picked while the rind is still tender and edible. This makes them exceptionally easy to use quickly.
They are crunchy and delicious raw. Try mixing cut squash and zucchini into a baggie in your fridge. Grab them along with some hummus or salsa next time you feel like dipping instead of chips. A full cup serving is only 18 calories and an excellent source of Vitamin C at 32% RDA.
Berries are another fantastic treat of summer. You can get fresh blueberries, raspberries and cherries this time of year. Fresh berries are great for smoothies, desserts, snacks and as a side for a packed lunch.
Blueberries and raspberries average 35 – 40 calories per half cup serving, while cherries come in at a mere 16. All of them are a good source of Vitamin C and provide some Vitamin A as well. Plus, berries have been proven to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, and are being studied as an anti-cancer food.
Peaches are another great fruit to come out of summer. They are as popular raw as they are baked, grilled or boiled. Their sweet juice and tender flesh make them a compliment to nearly any food they are paired with.
Try cutting them into cubes, pushing them down into a popsicle mold and filling the empty space with juice. A cool treat for a hot day that tastes so good, it’ll seem like you’re cheating your diet for sure. A half cup serving is only 30 calories while being rich in potassium, riboflavin and Vitamin A.
Summer Staples also include broccoli, corn and green beans. These are fantastic on their own, raw or in soups and stews. All of them provide much-needed fiber and vitamins which will help keep you feeling full long after your meal.
One of my favorite tricks is to use Zip ‘n Steam bags for these. You can mix whatever combination you like in them without adding any sauce or oils. Season and steam in the microwave, super simple. As if that wasn’t easy enough, you can also freeze them inside the steamer bags. That makes it easy to prep a bunch of them at once and leave them waiting until you’re ready.
Hopefully this will give you good ideas of how to use some of my favorite seasonal produce. What are your favorite fruits and veggies of the summer?