As the weather gets warmer and sun-filled days are approaching (yay!), new, fun, fresh foods are popping onto the scene. This is the perfect time to add some summer-season produce to your shopping list and try something new – we promise your tastebuds will thank you!
Each type of produce has its unique nutrition value while providing us nourishment, deliciousness, and a happy tummy. With that, it feels appropriate for us to provide you with a guide to summer produce that you absolutely don’t want to miss. While these are some of our favorites, there is also an abundance of seasonal produce available for you to explore either at your local farmers market or grocery store!
Why Eat Seasonally?
We're so glad you asked! Not only does produce that is "in-season" tend to taste better, but it can even pack more nutritional bang for its buck. In other words, produce that is in season tends to have a higher percentage of its vitamins and minerals than when it is not in season (1). As an added bonus, seasonal produce can be more cost-effective, too!
Summer Produce we think you'll love
Summer squashes like zucchini and yellow squash are packed with remarkable nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. They are also rich in carotenoids that are responsible for their vibrant colors and are beneficial in enhancing your immune system and beating off foreign pathogens that make you sick - pretty cool, right? There are many creative ways you can have them – from being eaten as vegetable noodles to sautéed with your omelets or simply baked or grilled – you name it!
From strawberries and raspberries to blueberries and blackberries, these small, sweet fruits are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are an excellent addition to a varied, colorful, and balanced diet. Whether it could be paired with oatmeal, yogurt bowl, toast, smoothie, or simply snack on them by the handful, they are a great addition to some extra sweetness if you enjoy having them. Buy them in bulk in the summer, when they are the cheapest and most flavorful!
There is no better time for melons like summer - whether it's watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew. Melons are at their highest nutritional value and size during the summer, making their cooling, refreshing, and hydrating juice a must to be enjoyed by the pool! Though they are sweet, they are rich in all the nutrients you can imagine, from dietary fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and copper.
Alright, not to be corny, but we really think corn is a summer produce star. And the a-maize-ing thing about them is that they are so versatile! You can use it in almost everything – In a salad, tacos, pudding, soup, any kind of sides, or just by roasting or baking them, whatever that might be. They are a starchy vegetable that packs a decent amount of fiber to keep you satiated throughout the day while providing nutrients like potassium and B-vitamins.
Summer is simply the time to surround yourself with tomatoes too! Tomatoes are rich in antioxidant lycopene which has been linked to many health benefits. They come in all different shapes, shades of color, and sizes, making them fun to pick and make a delicious meal with. The different varieties will surely bring different sweetness, juiciness, or even acidity, so make sure you are not missing out!
Herbs are a cheap and easy way to add flavor and color to your favorite recipes! They can enhance your dishes without the addition of sodium or sugar too. Fresh herbs are best purchased from the farmer’s market, but dried herbs from the grocery store work just as well. Love gardening? Try growing your own herbs this summer to add greenery to your kitchen!
Fruits and vegetables play a huge role in a balanced diet that is beneficial to our health. And of course, variety is as important as quantity in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. We hope that you will use that as your guide to summer produce this season to help spice up some of your weeknight dinners or weekend grill nights.
Of course, you can always reach out to your dietitian or physician to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need. If you feel that you need some extra information or guidance, our dietitians here at NourishRX are always here to help!