Looking for affordable ways to eat healthy this summer? Consider buying fruits and vegetables that are in season.
“Fresh seasonal produce contains more nutrients than out-of-season options, and it also tastes better,” said Ashley Simper, a registered dietitian at OSF HealthCare. “Summer is the best time of year for finding the most in-season produce, so be sure to visit your local supermarkets or farmers markets and see what they have to offer.”
Three summer fruits and veggies to consider adding to your shopping list are peaches, berries and leafy greens.
Ready to start eating seasonally?
Peaches are always a summertime favorite. They not only taste great but are also low in calories and fat free.
They contain moderate amounts of antioxidants, like vitamin C, which help our bodies fight disease and infection. They also contain other essential nutrients, such as vitamin A and potassium. Vitamin A is important for maintaining your eye and skin health, and potassium can help regulate your heart rate and blood pressure.
Here are some great peach recipes to try:
Storage tip: Once your peaches are ripe to your liking, store them in the refrigerator to prevent them from ripening further.
Berries are full of antioxidants called anthocyanins. They give berries their deep red, purple and blue colors and have been linked to helping lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease. They’re delicious on their own, but you can add them to just about anything, such as desserts, salads and yogurt.
Try these berry-filled recipes:
Storage tip: Berries break down quickly once they’ve been exposed to water, so don’t wash them until it’s time to prepare and eat. Until then, store them in a single layer in the refrigerator.
3) Leafy greens
There are a variety of fresh greens available in the summer, such as romaine, butter and looseleaf lettuce, kale and spinach. They add color and fiber but almost zero calories to your meal while also being packed with essential nutrients, such as potassium and vitamins A, C, K and folate.
However, depending on your health, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor before adding leafy greens to your diet.
“Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives green fruits and vegetables their color, and the vitamin K it contains can interact poorly with blood thinners,” Ashley said. “So it’s important to get advice from a health care professional.”
Some tasty leafy green recipes include:
Storage tip: You can keep greens two weeks longer than usual by storing them with a couple paper towels. The towels will absorb excess moisture, which will help keep your greens fresh and crisp.
More delicious choices
There are several other fruits and veggies that are ripe for the picking during the summer months. For more information about seasonal produce in your part of the United States, be sure to check out seasonalfoodguide.org.
Last Updated: September 13, 2023