Summertime is a great time of year to create new habits of eating more fruits and vegetables. As gardens and farmers markets have more fresh produce to choose, here are some pointers on how to choose, store and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables:
Make a goal to include a fruit and vegetable serving at every meal, even breakfast!
- Add onions, mushrooms, spinach and peppers to a 1 egg omelet
- Decrease the meat and starch at meals and fill ½ your plate with vegetables
- Add more vegetables in casseroles and stirfry; decrease the meat and starch
- Choose fruit for dessert
- Grill a black bean burger or portabella mushroom in place of a burger or hot dog
- Add spinach or other greens to a smoothie
- Dip fresh vegetables in hummus or bean dip for a snack
Store vegetables and fruit the best way to keep tasting fresh longer!
- Some vegetables and fruit such as potatoes, onions, tomatoes and bananas can be stored in a cool dry place
- Wash mushrooms only before eating
- Most fruits and vegetables can be stored in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. Wash before eating. Lettuce can be washed before storing but make sure it is stored dry. After patting dry, store in a plastic bag with the leaves wrapped in paper towels
- Some fruits will ripen quicker if stored in a brown bag. However, once ripened, then keep in the refrigerator for longer shelf life
Fruits and vegetables can be tasty just by themselves but here are some ideas to change the flavor a bit:
- Fire up the grill! Place vegetables or fruit on skewers and grill a few minutes on each side. Need more flavor? Brush some balsamic vinegar on the produce before serving.
- No grill? Roast them! Set your oven to 400°, wash and chop your produce into bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil, spread on a baking sheet and roast until tender
- Dip vegetables in a salsa
Try a new recipe:
- 1 cup Dannon’s Light and Fit Vanilla Yogurt
- ½ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ banana
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend and serve immediately
Fire and Ice Salsa
- 3 cups chopped and seeded watermelon
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon green onion
- 2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper
- Combine ingredients. Mix well. Cover. Refrigerate for one hour or more
Stir Fry with Feta Cheese
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 cups sliced/ chopped vegetables (onions, carrots, broccoli, peppers, etc).
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 large tomato, cubed
- 2 ounces feta cheese
- 4 cups whole wheat pasta, hot
- 1 cup cooked skinless chicken breast, cooked
- In a heavy skillet, on high heat, toss vegetables and herbs in oil until desired stage of doneness.
- Sprinkle and toss vegetables with lemon juice and black pepper
- Toss vegetable mixture with pasta and chicken
- Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and crumbled cheese
- Serve hot or refrigerate and serve cold
Now is the time to enjoy the smells and tastes that come with summer. Include fruits and vegetables in your eating choices throughout the day- start a new healthy habit to carry over to the rest of the seasons!