School is out, the sun is shining, farmers markets are open and summer produce is here! We all hear the phrases “eat local” and “eat in season” quite often these days, but it can be a tough task when you’re forced to do all of your food shopping at the supermarket during the winter months. Now that the summer months are officially here, it’s time to take full advantage of seasonal produce! Enjoy outdoor farmers markets in your community and savor locally grown produce. While it’s hard to go wrong when choosing from all of the colorful options, there are a few produce items to consider stocking up on this summer season!
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries — take your pick! They’re packed with antioxidants to help fight inflammation, low in sugar and filled with various vitamins to nourish the body including vitamins A, C, and K. They are some of the most versatile fruits and can be eaten alone or added to a variety of meals and snacks such as yogurt, salads, oatmeal, muffins and smoothies.
If there’s one fruit that represents summer, it’s watermelon! It’s one of the most refreshing and hydrating fruits that is perfect to snack on during a hot summer day. It’s a good source of vitamin A, is high in vitamin C and contains the antioxidant lycopene while also being low in calories. Shake it into a healthy cocktail, add it to your salad or treat it like a tasty dessert!
Cherries are another fruit that make their debut appearance in the summer months. They’re filled with antioxidants, low on the glycemic index to help control blood sugar and are one of the few food sources of melatonin to help promote a good night’s sleep. They act as a great on-the-go snack, smoothie ingredient or paired with dark chocolate!
While we can access tomatoes all year long, there’s nothing quite like a summer tomato — they turn into nature’s candy! They are technically a fruit, but many people categorize them as a vegetable. Tomatoes are high in vitamins A and C and are a good source of potassium and vitamin K. They are 95 percent water, making them extremely hydrating, and have played a positive role in heart health, cancer prevention and skin conditions. They are the perfect addition to any salad or entrée or blended for tomato sauce!
As soon as the grill gets dusted off for the summer, you know it’s time to start thinking about corn on the cob! Corn is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments that provide the yellow and orange color to specific foods, and are known for being potent antioxidants that play a major role in eye health. Corn is typically yellow but comes in a variety of other colors, such as red, orange, purple, blue, white and black. If there’s ever a time to really enjoy corn, that time is now! Throw it on the grill, chop it up into a salad or make it into a side dish.
Yellow squash, also known as summer squash is high in vitamins A and C. They have so much flavor and taste delicious on the grill with just a light coating of olive oil and salt — be sure to add this veggie into your summer rotation!