Fresh Summer Foods

Denise Austin by Denise Austin | July 14, 2018 | Nutrition

Hi Everyone! As you may have guessed by now, SUMMER is one of my favorite seasons, and a big part of the reason why is all the fresh summer foods that are available! I love to eat, and by choosing healthy whole fresh foods, I can fill up without feeling guilty. Plus, fresh summer foods just taste good!

Here are some of my favorite foods that are in season right now, so stock up and enjoy!

Denise’s Fresh Summer Foods

Beets. These are a favorite in my house – I just made a beet, arugula and goat cheese salad for my online team when they came to my house for a meeting, and it was a hit! You can see the recipe below, a sneak peek at the amazing recipes in my 10-Week Whole Body Plan! Beets can be found year-round but tend to taste the best in the summer and early fall months. The are a good source of vitamin C and folate – important for expectant mothers to be eating. They also provide fiber, which will help your system run smoothly, and are even thought to help protect against heart disease and certain cancers. Beets for the win! I particularly like purple and golden beets, so next time you are at the store, look for beets either raw and cook them up in your oven, or – even better in the warm summer weather – buy pre-cooked and peeled beets for easy prep.

Cantaloupe. This fresh summer food is a must-have for fruit salads, or even eaten cut in half with a scoop of protein-rich cottage cheese in the middle! Cantaloupe is a great source of beta-carotene which is important for healthy eyes, as well as vitamin C. The good news is that cantaloupe has a low calorie count per serving, but you should be aware of its link to food-borne disease – precut cantaloupe was in the news recently linked to a salmonella outbreak, so check the local news to be on the safe side when buying…

Corn. Who doesn’t love corn on the cob? It’s a great way to include some healthy, whole, fresh summer foods in your summertime BBQs. Corn is a good source of vitamin C, as well as fiber and folate, plus lutein, which helps promote healthy eyesight. I love it grilled up with a little salt and pepper, sliced off onto a plate to make it easier to eat. You can use corn on the cob in fresh salads, or added to beans and salsa as a rich, hearty and healthy appetizer!

Raspberries. Berries are an Austin household favorite – they are so good for you, and taste delicious! Raspberries are especially healthy, as they are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, provide folate and magnesium, and deliver up two of the B vitamins (B2 and B3). But the best part? Raspberries are an excellent source of antioxidants – they have 50% more antioxidant potential than strawberries! I use them in smoothies, add to yogurt or ice cream, and just eat them on their own. Be sure to buy them in organic form if you can – commercial varieties may use lots of pesticides.

Summer Squash. I am a fan of both zucchini and the yellow crookneck summer squash varieties. They are a light, refreshing way to enjoy the delicious bounties of summer veggies, and they are so easy to prepare – you can literally eat the entire vegetable! I like to wash them, then cut into circles or strips, toss with some olive oil and herbs, and grill them for a few minutes per side. This makes for a tasty side dish that offers up manganese, magnesium, vitamins A and C, fiber and folate. A delicious way to eat your nutrients! You can also spiralize them and use them in place of noodles in a cold summer salad – so refreshing and healthy!

I hope you loved all these fresh summer foods and ideas – don’t forget to make my Bold Beet and Lentil Salad,  part of my 10-Week Plan, where you can personalize your eating plan to suit your tastes! I offer vegetarian, low-sodium, gluten-free, diabetic plans and more – so there is something for everyone. Start your free trial today!

Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,
Denise

Bold Beet and Lentil Salad
Fresh arugula, lentils and sliced beets are combined with fresh herbs and rich toasted walnuts and creamy goat cheese for a sweet, flavorful and hearty meal.

4 cups arugula (or baby spinach or any preferred salad greens)
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (or quinoa or any variety beans)
1 1/2 cups cooked, sliced beets
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
2 oz. goat cheese (or blue cheese or feta)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Black pepper (to taste)

To Make:

1. Divide the spinach between two plates. Top each plate with 1/2 cup lentils, 1/2 cup beets, and 2 Tbsp. walnuts.
2. Crumble 1 ounce cheese over each plate. Sprinkle the parsley and basil on top.
3. In small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and black pepper. Drizzle half of the dressing on each salad.

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