We are a fruit and veggie lovin’ family. We genuinely like the taste of most of them – especially in the summer. We make salads, grill them, snack on them at the park, take to pitch-ins, etc. We know they’re good for us, but it was eye-opening to learn WHY they are good for us. Read on to see how you can prepare the following fruits and veggies to maximize their flavor and healthy benefits.
Lightly grill then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar this summer. Asparagus is high in fiber, folic acid, potassium, vitamins A and C and glutathione (a phytochemical with antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties).
Add to your salad, sandwich or alone on whole wheat toast for breakfast. One ounce of an avocado contains 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It’s rich in monounsaturated fat, which may lower bad “LDL” cholesterol and reduce risk for heart disease.
Add to salads, smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal. Blackberries contain antioxidants, are high in vitamin C and the seeds are high in fiber.
These can be lightly grilled after splitting in half and lightly drizzled with olive oil. These veggies are high in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium and fiber.
Add to pasta dishes, risottos and soups. It’s rich in complex carbohydrates and vitamins A and C and it’s a good source of beta carotene, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Rich in potassium and fiber, try adding dried figs to trail mix with some almonds and whole-wheat cereal.
Use in smoothies or add them to entrees in place of spinach or cabbage. Kale is packed with vitamins A, C and E. Kale is high in antioxidants and also includes important minerals manganese, iron, calcium and potassium.
Toss some of the seeds on your salad this summer. They are high in antioxidants and rich in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
Blend into smoothies, saute with garlic and olive oil, or use as your salad base. Spinach is an excellent source of folate, iron, and vitamins A and K.
Eat alone or on salads or make a fruit kebab with other fruits like grapes and melon. This fruit is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid and antioxidant flavonoids thought to be protective against stroke and cancer.
Use in side dishes, salads and soups. It’s a blood sugar stabilizer and one of the world’s most nutritious vegetable. It contains magnesium, vitamins A and C, and can aid as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifyer.
Sliced on a sandwich, chopped into a salad, added to omelets or skewered and grilled, tomatoes are a summer staple. Huge in antioxidants and rich in beta carotene, tomatoes also contain vitamin C, manganese and vitamin E.
How many of these items are you already nibbling on this spring? Which one will you incorporate into your menu this season?
The Patrick O’Brien Agency – Fishers, IN