'Tis the Season for Fruits and Vegetables
By Kelci Murphy
For Mind & Body column in the Messenger-Inquirer
Summer. The season of possibility and an endless supply of exciting activities. While there are many opportunities to participate in the fun this season brings, there’s also room to balance it with a healthy lifestyle. Drink more water, be active outdoors, wear sunscreen, get adequate sleep –to name a few. Of course, you can’t forget about maintaining a well-balanced diet.
When deciding what to eat and drink, it’s important to make food choices packed with nutrients. Think whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, almost 90% of the US population does not meet the recommendation for vegetables and about 80% does not meet the recommendation for fruit.
When your diet lacks fruits and vegetables, there’s a good chance you’re not consuming adequate dietary fiber and potassium, two nutrients of public health concern. Both of these nutrients play an essential role in the body and it’s a great idea to start adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Adults should set a goal for 4-5 servings in a variety of colors each day— fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice all count. However, whole fruits and vegetables are preferred over juice because they contain more dietary fiber.
Fortunately, the summer season is the perfect time to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Choosing seasonal produce allows you to enjoy your picks when fresh and flavorful and can help save money while the crop is plentiful. Not to mention you can also support your farmers by shopping at your local farmer’s market.
If you’re wondering what produce is in season for July, here is an excellent list to get you started: apples, beans, beets, blackberries, Brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, greens, okra, white onions, peaches, peppers, plums, potatoes, raspberries, summer squash, tomatoes and watermelon.
Enjoy your fruit cut or sliced on a salad or as a topping for yogurt. For a fun twist, throw fruit, such as peaches and watermelon, on the grill. Many vegetables are also great on the grill or roasted in the oven. You can even add shredded vegetables into meatloaf, casseroles or burgers if you have picky eaters. Try out this tasty turkey veggie burger recipe. You never know what you may like until you give something new a try!
Turkey Veggie Burgers
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup shredded zucchini
- 2 eggs
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
1) In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and shape into 4 patties.
2) Cook patties over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until proper internal temperature achieved. Patties can be cooked on an outdoor grill, griddle, skillet or oven broiler.
3) Add the patties to a hamburger bun with your favorite toppings and condiments.
Kelci Murphy, RDN, LD is an outpatient and wellness dietitian with Owensboro Health Healthpark’s Education and Wellness Team.