7 Summer Foods to Add to Your DietArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Blueberries. Strawberries. Peppers. Tomatoes. There are lots of foods you know and love that are synonymous with summer. But there are other summer foods you may overlook or be less familiar with that deserve a spot on your summertime menu.
Here are seven of our favorite summer foods:
There isn’t a farmers’ market that doesn’t have this non-starchy veggie for sale in mid to late summer. Eggplant is a member of the squash family and is loaded with potassium, dietary fiber, phosphorus and magnesium—not to mention flavonoids and antioxidants, according to Medical News Today. One of the best ways to counteract the bitterness that sometimes accompanies this veggie is to sweat the eggplant by sprinkling it with salt and letting it rest about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and cook as desired. Eggplant Parmesan is probably the most popular eggplant dish but you should avoid the fried coating. Instead, try a ratatouille with onions, garlic, peppers and tomato. Or, try grilling sliced eggplant and make a veggie sandwich with goat cheese and caramelized onions. A whole wheat pita is the perfect vessel!
Okay, with this food comes a vacation to Maine where you’ll find fresh lobster boils in virtually every town and along every highway. If clams and shrimp are in the pot, you’ve hit the protein jackpot, as all three types of seafood are Proteins and have zero net carbs. Renting a house on your vacay? Go down to the docks and buy fresh lobsters for your own boil. You’ll pay less and you can leave out the ingredients that aren’t recommended on the South Beach Diet. Try seasoning your pot with jalapeño or fresno peppers, pearl or boiler onions, mint, basil and of course, salt.
Have you ever bought a cantaloupe out of season? It usually looks right—orange flesh, soft give when squeezed. But the fruit has little to no flavor. A ripe summer cantaloupe, however, smells ripe, has a deep orange hue, and tastes juicy and sweet. Plus, cantaloupe is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients like choline, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, according to Medical News Today. Just one cup offers 106 percent of your daily Vitamin A and 95 percent of vitamin C. About 90 percent of a cantaloupe is water so it’s a hydrating snack. You could muddle some cubes in a bowl to make cantaloupe water.
Please note that if you are on the South Beach Diet, we recommend extremely limiting fruit due to the higher carb and sugar content. If you’d like to have a small amount, stick to lower sugar fruits like berries and ensure they fit into daily net carb limit of 50 grams or less.
4. Shaved Ice
Shaved ice is a great way to keep you hydrated on a hot, summer day. The problem with your average store-bought ice is the sugar. A shaved ice from your favorite Italian ice spot is likely loaded with sugar. So what’s a dieter to do? Make your own shaved ice and use blended, fresh fruit juice as an all-natural sweetener. Prefer something creamier than shaved ice? Mix up some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit and then freeze.
One cup of arugula contains 25 calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). And yet, in just one cup, you’re getting 136 percent of your daily Vitamin K, 47 percent of your daily vitamin A, 25 percent of your daily vitamin C, 16% of your calcium, and 6% of your daily fiber. Need another reason to add this summertime crop to your diet? It’s one of the easiest plants to grow, requiring just three hours of sunlight a day, according to Medical News Today. If you have a window, you can grow arugula!
Flavorful. Healthful. Historical. Garlic may be more of a spice but it’s definitely one of the foods you should add to your menu this summer and for the rest of time. Its list of inherent nutrients includes B6, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron and copper, according to . Its active ingredient, allicin (what gives garlic its pungent taste and smell), is thought to have antibacterial and infection-fighting qualities and we have record of garlic remedies dating back 5,000 years. Today, garlic is one of the most heavily researched herbal medicines. A February 2016 article published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests garlic can reduce blood pressure and therefore help prevent heart disease. The American Cancer institute recognizes garlic as a vegetable with potential anticancer properties.
In your kitchen, always use fresh garlic. Throw a clove or two on a tray with Brussels sprouts or broccoli and it will infuse flavor into your vegetables. Mince it, mix it with fresh basil, thyme and olive oil for a terrific meat marinade.
There’s more to apricots than sugary jam. In fact, these underrated fruits can be used like peaches or plums (think salads, salsas and smoothies), but they offer a fresh flavor and impressive nutrient package. According to Nutrition Data, a one one-cup serving gives you 12 percent of your daily fiber, 60 percent of your daily vitamin A, 26 percent of your vitamin C and 12 percent dietary fiber. Apricots ripen in early summer. According to NPR, you should look for fruit with a deep orange-gold color that are plump and give just a bit when squeezed. A floral fragrance also indicates ripeness. Out of season, look for dried apricots (which still have many of the health benefits as fresh fruit) and enjoy out of the bag or add to your own special trail mix.