Foods You'll Love for the Season
ENJOY A RAINBOW OF IN-SEASON PRODUCE
Nutrition is an important part of total-body wellness. ChooseMyPlate.gov encourages you to focus on making healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy—as the foundation for a nutritious eating plan.
Each time you sit down for a meal, half your plate should consist of fruits and veggies to ensure you’re getting a good amount of produce-based nutrients. Late summer is a great time to enjoy eating a variety of fresh fruits and veggies—as many are in season now.
Eating in-season foods is a great way to ensure you’re getting a good variety of fruits and veggies that are at peak performance. Thy Ho-Pham, Association Community Health Manager for the YMCA suggests an easy way to know what’s in season, “When you go to the grocery store, see what’s featured or is on sale in the produce department—this is usually what’s in season, and sometimes there are even samples out for you to try.”
Here’s a look at some of our late-summer produce bounty in Texas:
Summer Squash (The World’s Healthiest Foods)
Zucchini is just one example of summer squash, a vegetable with remarkable nutrient richness, including vitamins, minerals and fiber. According to the USDA, summer squash is full of antioxidants, which are compounds found in food that stop or delay damage to the cells.
Thy suggests trying making zucchini noodles as a great alternative to regular pasta. Or, you can shred summer squash into meatloaf, casseroles, quick breads and muffins for an extra dose of “hidden” veggies.
In addition to being a natural, sweet treat, peaches have powerful health benefits and according to Science Daily, have been shown to help:
Ward off some kinds of cancer, obesity, cholesterol
Maintain healthy vision, skin, bones and teeth
Prevent stress and anxiety
Peaches are great to eat on their own—or top your breakfast cereal with them.
Hot or Sweet Peppers
Whether you want to kick it up a notch with a spicy pepper (the jalapeño is our state pepper!), or prefer to keep it sweet, both are excellent sources to liven up your food with plenty of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. Plus, according to the USDA, the capsaicin found in hot pepper has been shown to boost metabolism and help suppress appetite.
Peppers are great on the grill or atop a lunchtime sandwich. Bonus for choosing red peppers, which have the most nutritional value since they’re on the vine the longest.
Tips for enjoying more fruits and veggies
Thy reminds you that every veggie and fruit you eat is a win! She suggests:
Challenging your family to try at least one new fruit or vegetable each month
Experimenting with different colors—and encouraging kids to help choose the focus for a meal, whether it’s “purple,” “green” or “red”