Warmer weather is upon us, the sun is shining, and cicadas are back. We know what this means – summer is approaching! Summer can be synonymous with popsicles, ice cream cones, sweet iced tea, and grilled hot dogs. As such, it can be helpful to have healthier options available that both celebrate summer and give us some nutritional balance. Your Moveable Feast dietitians are here to help! Our top tip is including more fruits and vegetables, especially local, seasonal produce in your diet.
Why choose local, seasonal produce?
Produce that is in season means that it is harvested at peak ripeness. Seasonal produce is often fresher, tastier, and more nutritious compared to out of season produce. Local produce is also more environmentally friendly as it requires less transportation, less refrigeration, and helps support the local economy. Here are a couple of resources for buying local produce:
https://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/agripro.html & https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/maryland/late-june.
Though your Moveable Feast dietitians have many favorite foods, below are a few healthy options we will be enjoying this summer:
Are extremely hydrating and can support weight loss thanks to their high water and soluble fiber content. Cucumbers add a freshness and crunch to all your summer favorites. They go great in salads, sandwiches, dips, or eaten alone. Want a sweet treat to help beat the heat? Make these: https://senseandedibility.com/cucumber-mint-lime-popsicles/.
Like most brightly colored fruits, peaches contain nutrients that may help to prevent heart disease, protect our cells and skin from damage, and protect us from certain cancers. Peaches make great snacks, and can be used to add a sweet, juicy touch to salads, smoothies, or desserts. Try out this peach salsa that Community Dietitian, Isabel, just demoed for our clients in a virtual monthly nutrition session: https://natashaskitchen.com/fresh-peach-salsa-recipe/.
Tomatoes are juicy, sweet, and a major source of lycopene, an antioxidant shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. A great way to include tomatoes into your day is by adding it to sandwiches, salads, or making your own salsa. Don’t feel like turning on a hot stove or oven? Try out this super simple and refreshing dinner: https://smittenkitchen.com/2017/07/hummus-heaped-with-tomatoes-and-cucumbers/.
Watermelon is definitely an iconic summer fruit! It keeps you hydrated on hot summer days, is low in calories and provides you with vitamin C and vitamin A. Watermelon is a great snack on a picnic or as a BBQ dessert! Nutrition Services Manager (and mother of a toddler), Ilene, suggests making it into “juice” (https://www.yummytoddlerfood.com/watermelon-juice/) or grilling it up as a different kind of side dish (https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/274113/grilled-pork-tenderloin-with-watermelon-panzanella/)