6 Ways to Eat More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables This Summer
Summer is a great time to indulge in fresh fruits and vegetables. From crunchy salads to antioxidant-rich smoothies, adding seasonal produce to your summer meals can help you save money and build healthy eating habits.
Most importantly, studies show that foods high in vitamins help prevent chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
This June, celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month with six simple ways to eat fresh summer produce and improve your health.
Beat the Heat with No-Cook Meals
Most people don’t want to be around a hot stove when it’s 80 degrees outside. Beat the heat and save time by assembling these easy, no-fuss meals:
Start your mornings with a fresh blend of fruits and vegetables. Combine summer berries like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with high-protein Greek yogurt for a filling start to the day. Add dark, leafy greens like spinach or kale for a boost of vitamin A, which is critical for healthy vision, organs, and cell growth.
Salads and Wraps
Use lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers from the garden to build your own salad or wrap. Add lean proteins like chicken or turkey to keep you full for longer. Looking for a refreshing side? Try making gazpacho, a delicious soup that’s traditionally served cold. Simply blend fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, cilantro, onions and lime juice. Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, an antioxidant linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Slice peppers, carrots, broccoli and cucumbers into individual portions and serve with a side of hummus or dressing. Store in your refrigerator for a healthy snack after school or work, or throw into your bag to munch throughout the day. Individual-sized snacks can help you practice portion control, which can lead to weight loss.
Take It Outside: Go on a Summer Adventure
Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet doesn’t have to be boring. Schedule outdoor activities with family and friends to make the most of summer weather:
Picnic at the beach
Pack a picnic basket like a pro — bring fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy at the beach while you soak in some sun (don’t forget sunscreen and UV-resistant sunglasses!). Avoid sandy food by packing easy-to-eat snacks like Caprese salad skewers, watermelon slices or berry parfaits in a mason jar.
BBQ at a state park
New Jersey is home to many historic state parks with spectacular views and family-friendly recreational facilities. Plan your next family BBQ at Colonial Park here in Somerset, where picnic tables and grills are available to the public. Try roasting corn on the cob, a summer staple, or mixed vegetables, over hot coals.
Visit the farmers market
It can be easier to appreciate fresh produce when you know where it comes from. Check out the New Brunswick farmers market for a vivid display of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Local produce is picked at the peak of ripeness and organic produce can be less expensive than at the grocery store.
Make Healthy Eating a Year-Round Habit
Thankfully, eating nutritious food doesn’t have to be limited to summer. Encourage your family to adopt year-round healthy eating habits by planning meals as a family, washing and preparing food together, or planting a garden in your backyard.
Remember, adding healthy foods to your diet is about more than enjoying the bounty of summer — you can prevent chronic illness and add years to your life.
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