Summer is a great time to get into cooking with healthy ingredients because so much is in season! Cooking with in-season foods offers the health benefits of fresher produce more packed with nutrients and antioxidants, and it offers better taste. Summer harvest is a great opportunity to enjoying eating an in-season harvest. With summer in full swing, here are a few healthy summer ingredients so you can find out what’s in season to get you inspired:
Summer is peach season and delicious desserts like peach cobbler are in full swing, but there are some healthier ways to use these sweet fruits too! Peach crisps are a healthy and gluten-free alternative. Peaches go great with honey-grazed chicken and bulgur, which can be a great summer dinner meal as well. Peaches are healthiest when enjoyed whole and fresh, and they make a great snack all on their own, too. Peaches are rich in calcium, potassium and can help with skin health, making them perfect for the summer sun. Other pit fruits like apricots are also in season in the summer and offer similar health benefits.
Blueberries are famous for having the most antioxidants packed into the smallest package. They can be a great way to make healthier desserts like healthy blueberry muffins or as an ingredient in healthy pancakes. Blueberries also go great on their own, as a topping on yogurt, in smoothies or sprinkled into salads for an extra antioxidant punch. Other berries like strawberries, blackberries and boysenberries are also in season in the middle of the summer and offer similar health benefits.
- Sweet corn
Sweet corn is a summer staple, and simple sweet corn recipes are some of the easiest ways to add delicious in-season sides to a meal. Corn is rich in vitamin B12, folic acid and iron, which makes corn-on-the-cob or the more indulgent elote version a great way to reduce the risk of anemia or help along a healthy pregnancy. Corn can be mixed into almost any dish or served as a standalone, making it one of the most versatile summer crops. Sweet corn is a great addition to any summer barbecue.
Tomatoes are one of the biggest draws to farmer’s markets because everyone knows a fresh-grown tomato tastes amazing. They’re also high in lycopene, a type of beta-carotene that improves cardiovascular health. Salads like greek summer salad are great ways to eat a fresh tomato, and they can also be used as main dish in baked tomatoes or as part of a fresh tomato pasta sauce. Summer is peak tomato season, so the most fresh and delicious tomatoes are available!
Cucumbers can be used in many different types of salads and as the base of Mediterranean tzatziki sauce, a refreshing yogurt topping which is easier to make at home than many people realize. For a simple chip replacement, try sour cream cucumbers as a tasty summer snack. Cucumber slices in water can also be a great way to cool down from the summer sun and stay hydrated.