Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy all that it has to offer. This includes your favorite summer vegetables. Vegetables, as you know, are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber that help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Since most vegetables are naturally low in calories, including them in your diet can also help with weight management.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA’s) recommends eating a variety of vegetables from all subgroups including dark green, red/orange, legumes, starchy and other (cucumbers, summer squash, ect). Summer vegetables such as sweet corn, tomatoes, lima beans, southern peas, eggplant, okra, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cucumber, summer squash, and snap beans are all part of a healthy diet.
Tips to Include Summer Vegetables in Your Diet
- Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish. Steam snap beans for a quick side dish.
- Prepare vegetables such as bell peppers ahead of time and pre-package them to use when time is limited. Mix peppers in a casserole, stir-fry, or eat them raw with hummus.
- Liven up your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or yellow. These vegetables look great, taste great and are full of vitamins and minerals. Try adding cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or summer squash to your next meal.
- If fresh or frozen vegetables are not available, try low sodium canned vegetables. Lima beans and southern peas are a great addition to any meal.
- Brighten your salad by adding colorful vegetables such as red, yellow and orange bell peppers or cucumber.
- Buy summer vegetables in the summer for maximum flavor at a lower cost. Check your local farmers market for seasonal options
- Have vegetables for breakfast. Add fresh tomatoes and peppers to scrambled eggs or omelets.
- Make a refreshing summer beverage with lime juice, fresh cucumber juice and mint.
- For more information on vegetables, dietary needs, serving sizes and subgroups visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/vegetables.