The Taste of Summer

With recipes featuring the bounty of the farmers’ markets

Make room (in your diet and in your fridge) for those summer fruits and veggies! Open the door to a plant-based diet and taste the full flavors of this glorious season.

The term “plant-based diet” has not been officially defined, but the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has defined it as one “that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.” It’s a simple idea that doesn’t require complicated instructions to promote good health: people just eat more whole, unprocessed foods that come directly from plants rather than animals.

The health advantages of a plant-based diet are plentiful:

  • Fruits and vegetables are good sources of several vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and fiber.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables increase your intake of phytochemicals, which may reduce your risk for certain cancers.
  • Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, sodium and cholesterol.
  • Fiber is found in the skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables.
  • Fruits and vegetables are fast, easy and a good nutritional value.

A healthy goal is to include at least five fruits and vegetable servings per day. Your local farmers’ markets are a great place to choose more plant-based foods, help your local economy and “be green,” all at the same time.

Some tips to remember when shopping at a farmers’ market are:

  • Buy only one week’s worth (or less) of fruits and vegetables, as they will lose their freshness and nutrients if they sit around too long.
  • Handle fresh produce carefully, packing them so they don’t get crushed. Bruised and damaged fruits/veggies decay more quickly.
  • Buy a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to obtain the most nutrients.
  • Wash reusable bags after each shopping trip.

Claudia Ulintz, RD, LD

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