Favorite Summer Foods to Incorporate into Your Diet

By: Jacqueline Gilpin

While burgers and hot dogs often take center stage during summer, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables deserve some time in the limelight! Shop local at summer farmer’s markets or hit the grocery stores for some of NSN’s favorite summer foods!

#1 Watermelon

Watermelon is the culinary representation of summer across the USA. A delicious, sweet treat, watermelon is packed with potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. This fruit is fantastic as a mocktail/cocktail base, an addition to fresh fruit bowls, or can be incorporated into summer salads.

#2 Berries

Blueberries, boysenberries, strawberries, blackberries, elderberries… the list goes on and on! Berries are freshest in the US during the summer months. Berries are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C and K, magnesium, and potassium. Berries are great in sweet breakfasts like chia seed pudding or overnight oats, a base for homemade jams, and part of a healthy snack or dessert!

#3 Summer squashes

Squashes like zucchini, Chayote Squash, Crookneck Squash, Opo Squash, and yellow squash are in season from June to mid-fall! Summer squashes are excellent for cardiovascular health because of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, high amounts of fiber, and low sodium levels. Some delicious ways to incorporate these foods are as stuffed squash boats, a roasted veggie side, or (my favorite) Lebanese Kousa!

#4 Fresh beans and snap peas

Beans and peas are legumes filled with protein, fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins b (multiple), C, and K. These nutrients support energy production, heart health, and healthy body weight. Some great recipes with these legumes include mixed bean salads, veggie sautees, quinoa bowls, or a nutritional punch to tuna/chicken/egg salads!

#5 Nightshade vegetables

Nightshades, including potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers are in peak season in the summer through the early fall and make a great addition to your summer menu. These vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and have been associated with reduced risks for heart disease and cancers. Unlike the popular rhetoric around nightshades, no research associates nightshades with increased inflammatory responses for the average person. Those with autoimmune diseases may be curious about the effects of these vegetables on their bodies, but even those may not have mal-effects[1]. Therefore, I still recommend including these veggies as part of your plant rotation. Ratatouille (a delicious, French summer recipe) and grilled vegetables are great, low-carb options that incorporate a variety of nightshade vegetables.

If you are interested in learning more about using healthy produce to maximize heart health and support weightloss, contact [email protected] or [email protected] to book a discovery call!

For more seasonal options and healthy recipes that incorporate this month’s produce, check out Seasonal Fruits and Veggies.

[1] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/whats-the-deal-with-nightshade-vegetables/

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