Summer produce: What’s in season?

summer-produceSummer is a great time to add fresh produce to your diet. Here’s a look at a few of the fruits and vegetables that are in season during the warmer months.

“Summer is a great time for fruits and vegetables because the variety increases and the taste improves,” says Jessica Crandall, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Choose variety

Crandall recommends trying as many kinds as possible to maximize your nutritional intake.

“You may hear a lot about ‘superfoods,’ but you get health benefits from every fruit and vegetable you eat,” she says. “Because each one has a different nutrient profile, consuming a variety is really the best option.”

Among the many health-promoting properties of fruits and vegetables, you’ll find cancer-fighting antioxidants, cholesterol-lowering nutrients, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Filling up on fruits and veggies is also a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight, Crandall says. That’s because produce is relatively low in calories, so you can eat a lot of it. Produce is also a good source of fiber, which helps you feel full longer.

Below, you’ll find some summer produce suggestions from Crandall, along with nutrition information and some novel ideas for preparation.

Blueberries

Nutrition: One cup contains 100 calories, as well as fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants called flavonoids, and vitamins C and K.

Preparation idea: Skewer blueberries on a thin kabob stick. Dip it in yogurt and put the stick in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.

Watermelon

Nutrition: Two cups, diced, contains 80 calories, vitamins C and A, lycopene, and loads of potassium. All that potassium makes watermelon work almost like a sports drink, helping you replenish electrolytes that are lost when you sweat, Crandall says.

Preparation idea: Caramelize watermelon slices on the grill, then drizzle with honey, lime and a pinch of salt.

Peaches

Nutrition: One peach contains 60 calories, fiber, potassium, vitamin C and cancer-fighting beta-carotene.

Preparation idea: Skewer peach chunks, brush them with lime juice and grill them.

Corn

Nutrition: One ear has 90 calories, vitamin C, thiamine, folate and protein.

Preparation idea: Spray with butter or oil, sprinkle with herbs or Cajun seasoning, and place on a hot grill.

Bell peppers

Nutrition: One medium pepper contains 25 calories, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.

Preparation idea: Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place on the grill.

Summer squash

Nutrition: Half a medium squash (1/2 cup) contains 20 calories, vitamin A, potassium and lots of vitamin C.

Preparation idea: Cut squash into length-wise strips and place directly on the grill or cook smaller pieces in foil.

Learn more

To find nutrition information and recipe ideas for other summer fruits and vegetables, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.

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