Whether you’re a picky eater or unenthused by salads and pressed juices, eating more fruits and vegetables can be challenging.
Today, we’re giving you a cheat sheet for your next grocery visit that will help you in two ways:
1. You can grab and go instead of deliberating on what you should get and/or avoid getting the things you always get.
2. Get a wide variety of robust nutrients from fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables instead of ones that are grown year-round (and, therefore, have a good chance of being genetically modified or picked and harvested at inopportune times).
Have your grocery list handy? Great, let’s get started…
It’s good to know that this crisp, hydrating vegetable is in-season in the summer! Cucumbers are about 96% water, low-calorie, contain fiber, and include vitamins and minerals like Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
Adding cucumber to your water, salad, and sandwiches will give them a refreshing hint for sure!
2. Bell Peppers
If you’re looking to boost your fiber and potassium intake even further, bell peppers are a great way to go! They add an extra 3 grams of fiber to the recommended daily amount of 25.
What are some other benefits of bell peppers? Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers contain a type of antioxidants called carotenoids that help neutralize free radicals in your body. They also are good sources of Vitamin A and folate.
Along with those cucumbers, chop up some bell peppers and toss them in your next homemade, summertime salad!
While technically a fruit, zucchini is known as the “summer squash” and considered a vegetable. Here’s what one zucchini will get you: 58% of your daily value of Vitamin C, 2.4 grams of protein, and over 500mg of potassium.
We saw a blog post that contains 59 zucchini recipes…yeah, fifty-nine. So, we’ll just leave that right here.
4. Green Beans
Need more Vitamin A, K, and C? Stir fry or steam some green beans (a.k.a. string beans or snap beans). Some interesting facts we learned in our research for this blog:
- Green beans are harvested before they are fully mature and the seeds are still in their pods
- Nowadays, the “string” in green beans no longer grow
Two unique things about eggplant: chlorogenic acid and nasunin. Both are antioxidants and are known for their potential effects against cancer.
Other nutrient benefits include:
- Good source of Vitamins A and C as well as the B Vitamins
- Potassium and magnesium
Wondering how to eat or cook eggplant? Check out these recipes.
In-Season Summer Fruits
Perhaps the most refreshing of all fruits and vegetables…the watermelon! At about 92% water, this fruit is great to have on a hot summer’s day.
It is also a great source of Vitamins C and A.
Nothing says summer like this tropical, tangy fruit. Although high in sugar, mangoes are terrific sources of Vitamin A and C, fiber, and a host of antioxidants.
Checkout this mango smoothie recipe!
Another yummy fruit that contains Vitamins A and C! (We’re sensing a theme here.)
There’s more to peaches than their sweetness, though, like beta-carotene and their host of must-have minerals: potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.
These dark, sweet berries have a powerful antioxidant punch and also contain Vitamins C and K, manganese, folic acid, and fiber.
Interested in what antioxidants blackberries contain?
- Gallic acid
- Ellagic acid
Last but not least…blueberries! When people say “antioxidants,” blueberries are typically the things that come to mind first. Like blackberries, blueberries are also rich in Vitamins C and K as well as manganese—but even more so!
In fact, many studies have stated that blueberries have the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits and vegetables.
Truth be told, there are even more fruits and vegetables in-season this summer! Check out more complete lists at PBS.org and the USDA.gov.