Five recipes to help you make the most of summer

Summer is the perfect time of year to get outside, bring friends and family together and enjoy some delicious, homemade recipes.

It’s also a great time of year to get your “5 a day” in. Local farmer’s markets are overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables, packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our health.

When produce travels across the country to your grocery store and sits on the store shelves for days, it may lose some nutritional value. Because of less travel time from farmer to your table, you can maximize your health by purchasing local.

Fruits and vegetables that are in season just plain taste better, too!

Put that produce to work

Try one of these recipes using seasonal produce to help keep you on track through the summer months.

Peachy Keen Watermelon Salsa

This salsa can be an appetizer or part of a main dish. Scoop it up using baked tortilla chips or homemade whole wheat pita chips. You can also try spooning it over grilled chicken or fish for some wonderful color and flavor.

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Colorful Corn and Bean Salad

Corn and green beans are a staple during the summer. This salad combines them both. With a few other fresh ingredients, you can toss them in a simple vinaigrette.

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Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower is in season during the latter summer months. Instead of your traditional serving methods like plain steamed cauliflower, try mashing it into a mashed potato-like consistency. This will give you more fiber and less calories and carbs than traditional mashed potatoes!

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BBQ Scallops

Shellfish can be a very lean protein that often gets overlooked. Grilling shrimp or scallops with a homemade BBQ rub takes your shellfish to the next level! The sweetness of the oranges with the bite of the BBQ make these a summer hit.

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Mango Blueberry Greek Yogurt Pops

Mix any fruit and your favorite Greek yogurt flavor together and freeze to make a cool, refreshing sweet treat this summer.

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Remember that summer and the wonderful produce only last a couple of months. Take advantage of it while you can. Try new recipes and experiment with fruits and veggies you’ve never tried before. Your health will thank you!

About Author: Ashley Simper

Ashley Simper is a community and outpatient dietitian at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center as well as an Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media Spokesperson.

She has spent the last 11 years teaching patients and the general public how healthy eating can be easy and delicious.

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Categories: Diet & Exercise