Katherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN
Summer is Finally Here!! Here’s What in Season…
We have all been waiting for this amazing time of year! The weather is amazing, the kids are out of school, and a long list of produce items are now in season. Long Island is such a beautiful place to live, and having all of this healthy and delicious food available only makes it better. We will discuss some specific fruits and vegetables below, where you are able to find them, and the best preparation methods to bring out their delicious flavors.
Blueberries & Strawberries- All berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, as they have an exorbitant amount of nutritional benefits. These little berries not only pack a ton of flavor, but are low in calories, high in fiber, Vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Research has proven specific cardiovascular related benefits that have been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and decrease overall oxidative stress. All berries can be locally grown and found at farm stands and grocery stores between mid-June to about mid-August. These berries can bring amazing flavors and colors to a fruit or leafy greens salad or be a great addition to your yogurt parfait or oatmeal.
Melons & Watermelon- We all can tell summer is coming when we start to see the honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelons at our local farmers markets. Melons are beneficial because they are not only high in potassium, but magnesium, folate and Vitamin C & K as well. Both Vitamin K and folate play a large role in bone health, while Vitamin C is essential in healthy skin growth and sun protection. All melons are a delicious, hydrating, and sweet side to your summer BBQ or days at the beach. These are in season May through summer, so we have a little longer to enjoy!
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)- Chickpeas are a legume that contains both protein and fiber- two nutrients that are masters at keeping us full between meals. These beans also contain iron and calcium, which are important for maintaining bone health. Similarly, they are also high in the nutrient potassium, which is helpful in maintaining a normal blood pressure. Since these are often found canned in the local grocery store, it is important to drain the can and rinse under cold water to reduce the overall sodium content. They are a great addition to salads, as well as in its dry form at farmers markets from May throughout the end of summer.
Carrots- This typically bright orange vegetable packs so many nutritional benefits. They are a high source of beta carotene, fiber, Vitamin K, potassium, and other antioxidants. These crunchy and delicious vegetables have also been shown to lower cholesterol and improve eye health. This vegetable starts to be seen in early June at local farmers markets. Keep an eye out for the different color carrots as well; they can come in the red, white, yellow, and purple varieties. Carrots taste great simply raw on a salad or even roasted in the oven or air fryer with some spices; they can also be steamed for the perfect side dish.
Enjoy all of these healthy and delicious items this summer!!
Until Next Time,
Katherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN