In many parts of the United States, fresh fruits and vegetables are flown or trucked in from warmer areas of the country or other countries during the fall and winter; however, in the summer, these parts of the world are likely to experience an influx of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The same goes for coastal cities that typically have access to more fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Since variety is the spice of life, adding these foods to your diet when they’re available is something to look forward to.
While there really aren’t any bad fruits or vegetables in terms of health, there are some summer fruits and vegetables that can boost your energy level – something many people are looking for during the warm summer months.
Try adding these five fruits and vegetables to your diet this summer:
Coconuts are one of those fruits synonymous with summer, and seeing them on store shelves in grocery stores is common around mid-spring. While some people are intimidated by the hard-shelled fruit, coconut is an ideal fruit for boosting your energy levels because it contains oils known as medium chain triglycerides.
Medium chain triglycerides are a type of fat that your body quickly turns into energy and uses efficiently. Adding coconut to your diet can help keep you from feeling sluggish during the day, especially if you make it part of your morning meal.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Berries are naturally rich in manganese, which can help provide the body with long lasting energy. A single serving of blackberries, for example, – about 100 grams – contains 29-percent of your daily requirement in less than a 100-calorie serving.
Berries are also high in antioxidants that help keep the body healthy, as well as vitamin C and fiber. Fresh berries are ideal for nutrition, but if you pick your own in the summer or buy too many, you can freeze them and use them in recipes or add them to other healthy foods, like low-fat or Greek yogurt for a cool summer treat.
Apricots are one of those foods that fresh fruit produce aficionados wait for all year until summer comes around for a fresh harvest. While apricots can be used in a variety of summer recipes from salads to sauces, they’re also a great pick-me-up snack when you’re in a hurry.
That’s because apricots are full of natural fruit sugars that will keep you awake with making you crash like sugary snacks. They’re also loaded with beta carotene and vitamin A.
In most grocery stores and markets throughout the United States, tomatoes are available year round; however, the quality of tomatoes you’ll find in the winter and fall likely isn’t anywhere near the quality of tomatoes you’ll find in the summer since most are flown in from warmer climates.
In the summer, you’ll find fresh tomatoes that taste better and are grown locally. Adding tomatoes to your diet can boost your energy level because they’re rich in biotin – an essential B vitamin.
Adding a slice or two of fresh tomato to your meal can help, but there are plenty of recipes that focus on tomatoes. For example, the always popular Caprese salad makes a relatively light, refreshing meal for a warm summer evening.
Arugula, the leafy green plant that is sometimes referred to as a rocket due to its unique leaf shape, is a healthy alternative to regular salad lettuces like romaine and iceberg. Arugula can also help to boost your overall energy level because it’s high in B vitamins and folate, as well as vitamins A, C and K.
For an incredibly simple light side salad, toss arugula with high-quality olive oil, fresh lemon juice and black pepper to taste.
A healthy arugula salad with tomatoes makes a perfect summer lunch.
Image Courtesy of Flickr
This is only a partial list of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available in the summer and beneficial for your body. When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen.
They’re incredibly health for you and you may just discover a new favorite food.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer in California whose writing covers everything to do with health, including cooking, dieting, fitness and natural supplements. She personally loves the summer months of the year as she can always find the freshest produce for her meals.
Weekly Menu Plan:
Sunday: Duck Breast with Fresh Peaches and Roasted Potatoes
Meatless Monday: Cannolini Beans, Olives, Lemon Zest, Capers, Garlic over Pasta and Olive Oil
Tuesday: Cod Pieces with Trader Joe's Green Curry Sauce, Spinach and Basmatic Rice
Wednesday: Beef Tacos made with Salsa, Guacomole and Cheddar Cheese
Thursday: Chicken grilled with Chimichurri Rub from Whole Foods, Corn on the Cob and Tomato Salad
Friday: Mini Man Burgers with Pickles and Baked Beans
Meal Plan Monday Organizing Junkie