The sun is out and summer is in full swing, the time has come for some refreshment! Try some seasonal fruit to quench your thirst. Fruits can be hydrating, tasty, and loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to power you through a hot day at the lake, in the garden, or just hanging out in the cool A/C!
“Eating seasonally” is the new, trendy way to support your health, local economy, and wallet. Buying seasonal produce
- helps to support your local farmers and businesses,
- benefits the environment,
- means food has a smaller distance to travel compared to international imports reducing the amount of pollution emitted in transport,
- means the produce is also more fresh and higher in nutrients than canned fruits and vegetables.
- Can help keep your budget in check
But don’t be fooled, some frozen produce can be higher in nutrients if the produce is not grown locally because they are flash-frozen in the field versus being on a truck for 12 to 24 hours. Overall, eating seasonally is a great habit to start as it can help you increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed, while improving the quality of your diet. You might have the side effect of more energy and boosted immune function while you are at it!
“ Not only is watermelon cheap this time of year, but watermelon spitting is now an Olympic sport! There actually is a watermelon Olympics!”
Next time you are at your local farmers market or grocery store try grabbing a watermelon! Watermelons are currently in season in Texas, and they remain in season until September. When choosing a watermelon be sure to give it a hard flick. A ripe watermelon will make THWUMP sound (hollow sound). Choose one with has a slightly yellowish underside and never pick a soft or squishy melon. A watermelon can be stored uncut at room temperature for 7-10 days. Once cut, a watermelon should be stored in the refrigerator and can last for a few more days.
Watermelon is 92% water and the perfect refreshment for a hot summer day…actually 1 cup of watermelon is just 46 calories and is packed with vitamins A and C! Watermelon can be eaten raw, pureed into a juice, or frozen into popsicles. Try making a watermelon based salsa or a watermelon salad with feta cheese and arugula. It’s never a bad idea to have it the old fashion way, a fresh slice with a pinch of salt. Long considered the farmer’s electrolyte, it’s a good source of potassium.
If you aren’t seeing the results in your weight loss that you would expect, you might be overlooking one vital detail. Eating an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables is essential to every diet. Fruits and vegetables assist those who are trying to manage their weight, boost their metabolism and improve their overall health. Unfortunately, most Americans struggle to consume the recommended ½ cup to 2 cups of fruits per day and 2 cups to 3 cups of vegetables per day. In fact, only 1 in every 10 American adults eat enough fruits and vegetables.
With fruits being 60 calories per serving and vegetables being just 25 calories, these are great ways to stay fuller longer, give your body what it needs and reduce your overall caloric intake for the day compared to starches and meats. Some people claim produce is too expensive or unappetizing, others may admit that they do not know how to cook or prepare fruits and vegetables. While these barriers are real, they do not have stop you from success. This raises the question, “how do we increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet?” The answer may be closer to home than you think.
With your dedication to keep making the healthier choices every day and these monthly newsletters your diet can vastly improve! Keep an eye out for the Produce Pick of the Month for great tips and dietitian-approved recipes for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Anna Love, PhD, RDN, LD, MCHES, CIC
Anyssa Tephichin, TWU Dietetic Intern (summer 2019)