Farmers’ markets are lush with seasonal produce you can’t find year-round at your local grocery store. Take advantage of this source of unique seasonal fresh produce to add a variety of healthy choices to your diet this summer.
Did you know that just one cup of summer squash has only 19 calories, but can provide 32 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and 296 milligrams of potassium? Potassium plays an important role in muscle and bone health. Furthermore, some studies have suggested that potassium reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease due its ability to help lower blood pressure.
Summer squash is usually green or bright yellow and glossy. When picking a summer squash, look for that high gloss and those that feel heavier than they look. It can be stored in the fridge for up to seven days.
Although simply grilling summer squash with a little salt and pepper is a great way to eat them, they can also be used in salads, on grilled kabobs, and as a healthy alternative to spaghetti.
Okra is high in fiber, folate, and magnesium. The high fiber content of okra can help you feel fuller longer and slow digestion, helping to regular blood sugar levels.
Part of the mallow family, okra has been popular in Southern cooking for many years. Look for firm, bright green pods when selecting okra from a farmer’s market, and store them in your fridge for up to three days.
One of the most common ways to consume okra is in traditional gumbo. Because the vegetable becomes slippery when cooked, okra is often used as a thickener for summer soups like gumbo.
Eggplant is low in calories and boasts an impressive variety of vitamins and minerals. The high fiber content is this fruit can also help to protect against type 2 diabetes and keep your digestive system regular
Typically dark purple and cylindrical, eggplant can also be green, white, or even striped. When selecting an eggplant, make sure the vegetable is firm, heavy for its size, and without cracks or discoloration. It can be stored for up to seven days in the refrigerator.
Often used as a meat substitute Eggplants can be roasted, sautéed, baked, and stewed, making it one of the most versatile vegetables you’ll find at a farmer’s market.
Berries like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are high in vitamin c and dietary fiber. Not to mention, many contain antioxidants which protect our cells by fighting off free-radicals in the body, like toxins from pollution, cigarette smoke, and alcohol.
Each can be easily found at most summer farmer’s market, and are often vine-ripened, in their deepest color, and at peak taste. Look for berries that are vibrant, plump, and shiny.
Berries go great with yogurt, on top of pancakes, or tossed with greens in a summer salad. They make great on-the-go snacks because they’re easy to eat, sweet, and delicious.
Check out the USDA’s National Farmer’s Market Directory to find a farmer’s market near you. If you’re an OurHealth member and want more recommendations for healthy summer eating, consider scheduling an appointment with a health coach for more nutrition information and advice. Visit the OurHealth Portal at member.ourhealth.org or call 866-434-3255 to schedule an appointment today!