As a Towson nutrition counselor, Cara-Michele knows that one of the best ways to find healthy foods is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and are grown locally. Of course, you can get most of the produce in your local grocery store year round. But it’s usually imported from warmer states or countries, and often doesn’t taste as good as the same produce purchased in summer. Today we’ll talk about a few foods that you should definitely try to include in your summer diet as much as possible.
Why It’s Best to Eat Foods in Season
- Get maximum nutritional value from fruits and vegetables harvested at the peak of ripeness.
- Avoid fruits and vegetables artificially ripened through fertilizer use or other enhancements.
- Buy produce grown locally, which helps avoid preservatives and other additives used to make food last longer for transportation purposes.
- Fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually abundant and therefore more affordable.
Where to Shop
If you live in the Towson, Maryland area, here a few local places where you can buy fruit, vegetables and berries from local growers:
Allegheny Avenue, Towson, MD
The market is open Thursdays June 11, – October 29, 2015 on Allegheny Avenue and November 5-19, 2015 on Washington Avenue from 10:45-3:00pm.
Kenilworth Drive, Towson, MD
The market is open Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:30pm, May through November.
20 W Ridgely Rd, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093
Hours: Monday through Saturday 9AM – 9PM. Sunday: 9AM – 8PM
What to Buy
Berries to try this summer: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Berries are a perfect summer snack. Just fill up a small container and bring them to work with you to munch on during the day. They will be gone so fast, you’ll be surprised to blindly reach out into the cup and not find any. If berries are not as sweet as you like, dip them in your favorite yogurt.
If you are not into eating berries by themselves, try these options:
- Sprinkle fresh berries on your breakfast food, whether it’s cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.
- Blend berries into a smoothie by using milk or water as a base and adding fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, kale, apples, oranges, etc.
- Use berries as a salad topping over lettuce or chicken. Don’t worry about the sweetness—you will be pleasantly surprised how well berries go with these foods.
- Add berries to your ice water along with lemon for extra flavor.
- Eat berries for dessert dipped in chocolate or whipped cream. It may not be the healthiest dessert, but it’s better than donuts and cupcakes.
Fruit to try this summer: cantaloupe, apricots, bananas, cherries, grapes, plums
Summer is the best time to enjoy fruit. In fact, more than 70% of Americans don’t get the recommended daily requirement. But we try, and you probably tried too, buying bananas and apples, only to have them rot on the counter or sit in your fridge for ages. Sometimes, we may buy a fruit when it’s not in season and get disappointed in its lack of softness and sweetness. This single bad experience makes us want to steer clear of that fruit forever, which is a rushed judgment, don’t you think? If you want to add more fruits to your diet or try new fruits you’ve never tasted before, do this in summer when most fruits are in season.
There are many delicious ways to eat fruits:
- Similar to berries, add them as a topping to your choice of breakfast food.
- Add chopped fruit to your salads and main dishes.
- Mix your favorite fruit into a salad, dress with plain yogurt or lemon juice and top with nuts or seeds.
Vegetables to try this summer: peppers, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli
Cucumbers sold in most grocery chains are typically waxed with food-grade wax. This is done to help hold in moisture and prolong the shelf life of cucumbers. This is true for both organic and non-organic cucumbers. Although this wax is FDA-approved, it’s still an additive you don’t really need in your food. That’s why you might have heard a recommendation to peel the skin off before eating the cucumber. Meanwhile, cucumber skin and seeds are packed with nutrients. In summer, you can get cucumbers from your local farm stand and they won’t be waxed. Now is a great time to enjoy cucumbers in all their green deliciousness.
Different ways to eat your veggies
Let’s face it, getting your daily portion of vegetables is not always easy, especially when there are many other temptations around. Here a few ways you can include vegetables in your diet without getting bored:
- Dip them in hummus or your preferred dressing. Most vegetables can be consumed raw as long as they are washed well.
- Saute vegetables (cook on high heat to soften them) and add to any recipe as a side dish.
- Buy vegetable stock and add your favorite veggies and spices to make a soup. You don’t even have to follow a specific recipe!
- Add them to your fruit smoothies. You won’t even notice a few cucumber spears or pepper strips once everything is blended, especially if banana is the main ingredient in your smoothie.
A bonus tip: Cut up your veggies into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate them inside Tupperware as soon as you come home from shopping. This approach makes it easy to grab a container and take to work with you or use veggies in a salad.
For more tips on how to eat healthier, lose weight or replenish your energy, contact Cara-Michele for a free consultation.