April showers bring May flowers and this year, apparently, we’ve got some early summer heat in some parts of the country. All this extra sunshine got me thinking about nutrition and how much easier it is to find healthy foods in the spring and summer months.
I don’t know about you, but I avoid the produce aisles at area grocery stores as much as possible. Even during the summer months when my favorite produce is in season it seems as though prices are through the roof – prices that are now even higher because of the state of our economy.
What I do instead is visit the local Produce Junction (or similar style market) and browse the produce there. The food is usually fresh and because it’s delivered straight from local farms it generally costs much less. If I’m feeling really adventurous I drive out to the country and purchase my produce from the farmers themselves on the farms or at the road side stands.
Regardless of where you shop, there are several key fruits and vegetables you should watch out for during the summer months. They’re incredibly nutritious and should be taken advantage of while they’re available. Watch out for the following:
Summer squash has a significant amount of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It comes in a wide variety of sizes and can be served up in a number of ways, including in casseroles and side dishes.
Eggplant is, believe it or not, considered to be a berry. Despite its odd identity, it is great for those looking for something healthy and light to munch on. Because it’s full of water, a serving of eggplant adds only 15 calories to the average daily diet. Oh, and it tastes good.
Tomatoes can be found on kitchen tables year round, but they’re especially plentiful during the summer months when they turn into a main ingredient in many dishes. Tomatoes are full of vitamin C and are also known for containing the antioxidant called lycopene.
Watermelon is a delicious summer treat. It’s not only cool and refreshing but has a considerable amount of iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.