Healthy summer prodcue

Bursting with fresh fruits and veggies, summer is the perfect time of year to focus on eating well.

The air is warm, the sun is shining and the farmers market is rife with leafy greens, juicy melons and colorful peppers.

“Local produce is easily accessible during the summer months, which is wonderful for a variety of reasons,” said Amanda Goldman, MS, RD, LD, FAND, system director, CHI Food and Nutrition Services, and director of diabetes and nutrition care, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “Naturally low in calories, fresh produce grown close to home can be purchased and consumed as soon as possible after harvest when the items are most flavorful and the nutrient content is richest. It also may be less expensive than items shipped from far away.”

Smart meal preparation

The ingredients you buy will dictate the success of your meals, so take your time to put together grocery lists with items that are refreshing and satisfying. Think tomatoes, peppers and sweet watermelon. Or, if you have a green thumb and are teaching your children to garden, you may harvest fresh produce from your own backyard. Pick up some of your favorite seasonings, as well as sources of lean protein, like chicken or white fish.

bowl of honeydew melon

View recipe for Honeydew Melon Salsa Over Tuna Steaks.

Grilling is a great way to prepare seasonal dishes, including fruit drizzled with honey, marinated tuna or vegetable kebabs. Focus on variety — farmers markets often offer fruits and vegetables you won’t find in the grocery store.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.