Summertime is fast approaching, which means that gardens are being planted and outdoor grills are coming out of storage! Now is the perfect time to think about increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables while trying new things to make healthy choices part of your everyday lifestyle.
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
- They’re high in fiber, which helps to lower and support healthy cholesterol levels, feeds healthy bacteria in the gut, helps with bowel regularity, and helps you feel full on less calories!
- They contain micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system and metabolism.
- They can satisfy cravings, especially fruit, which is a healthy option without any added sugar.
- Both fruit and vegetables are a good boost of energy via natural sugar/carbohydrates.
Incorporate Into Your Everyday Meals
- Wake up to fruit by adding it to your morning oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and even waffles!
- Add them to the grill, yes, even fruit! Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches, and banana. Grill over low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
- Make your salads colorful by adding baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves, and even mandarin oranges!
- Swap out chips for vegetables and pair with dip. Try whole-wheat pits in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, and strawberries and apple slices in yogurt. Find a combination that suits you!
Finding what works for you can also be about how you approach your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Some guidelines recommend five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day while others encourage making half of your plate a colorful array of fruits and/or vegetables. Servings and plate sizes can be quite subjective though. “Reflect on your current habits with including daily fruits and vegetables and choose a goal that fits your lifestyle and preferences,” encourages Bethany Say, Outpatient Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at Meadville Medical Center’s Mind-Body Wellness Center. “Your journey to a healthier life begins with the first small step!”
This sweet and crunchy coleslaw blends cabbage, carrot, apple, and green pepper for a colorful side dish.
Berries 5 Ways
Berries are extremely versatile and there’s no better season than summer to add them to your snacks and meals.
Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Cucumbers and watermelon often ripen around the same time during summer, so this recipe is delicious as well as convenient.
Farmers Market Salsa
Good any time of the year, but phenomenal with fresh summer vegetables, this black bean and salsa offers some major flavor.