Something about the summer just makes some foods taste better. Sure, some fruits and veggies are only truly in season during the hot months, but the aesthetics of eating outside with the wind in your hair just changes the entire dining experience, and allows you to enjoy food you simply wouldn’t eat in the dead of winter. Most importantly, some of the best summer foods are also the healthiest.
July and August are the go-to days for sweet, buttery corn on the cob. (Of course, if we’re talking healthy, go easy on the butter). Corn goes well by itself, as a side, or in salads and salsas. No matter what month it is, the best time to eat corn is as soon as it’s harvested: as time passes, the sugars that give it that snap slowly turn to starch, and it loses its zing.
Blueberries are a sweet treat that can be found pretty much all over the country. They’re a natural source of antioxidants and Vitamin K, and have an incredible amount of health benefits. And they’re healthy on your wallet, too: compared to other berries and most tree fruits, blueberries are fairly inexpensive.
Apricots are generally freshest in May, but they don’t last too long unless dried or preserved. Biting into a fresh, juicy apricot is incredibly refreshing; biting into a not-so-fresh one is quite the opposite. However you prepare them, apricots are another source of antioxidants, and are reportedly good for your eyesight. Pick some up while they’re still fresh!
May is also cherry season, although the West Coast enjoys an earlier harvest. The sweet and tangy fruit also has a wide variety of health benefits, such as arthritis relief and reduced muscle pain. Studies show that cherries might also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Once again, May is the month to jump on the healthy fruit (yes, that big thing in the middle is a seed) bandwagon. Avocado is a soothing addition to salads, and is the main ingredient in healthy, homemade guacamole. Although they are produced year round in more temperate climates, domestically produced avocados are best during the early summer months. A quick peek at the vitamins avocados offer tells more than can possibly be explained here.
I waited much too long to discuss the most obvious summer fruit out there. Made up of 90% (you guessed it) water, the juicy red melon is a great source of hydration on a hot summer day. Not only that, but watermelon contains more cancer-fighting lycopene than tomatoes, and is on the same level as spinach as far as iron content goes. Okay, I’m starting to get hungry…
Raw, grilled, or sautéd, zucchini is an incredibly versatile summer veggie that has a wide variety of health benefits. Not only does it contain no cholesterol or fat, but it also contains 35% of the recommended vitamin C intake. My wife has recently made me aware of the magic of zoodles, a substitute for pasta (which will come in handy during those sticky dog days of August).
Moving away from fruits and veggies, shrimp is a staple of the summer months. Anyone who’s seen Forrest Gump knows there are a plethora of ways to prepare shrimp. The “fruit of the sea” can be prepared as a light lunch, an appetizer, or part of the featured entree. The little guys are high in protein and iron, and low on calories. Which is good, because you can never have just one or two of them.
9. Fresh-brewed Iced Tea
You can only truly say you’ve enjoyed iced tea if you’ve prepared it yourself on a hot summer day. The zero-calorie refresher is full of antioxidants, and if you prepare it on your own you can control its sugar capacity. Avoid store-bought teas if you’re trying to find a healthy alternative to juices or sodas; many health-related claims made by popular brands have been proven untrue.
The soup of the summer, the tomato-based meal combines the healthiest vegetables into one bowl of refreshing goodness. Peppers, onions, and cucumbers combine to create a soup that is low on calories, fat, and cholesterol. Definitely not something you’d want on a cold winter day, gazpacho keeps soup-lovers happy throughout the sweltering months of summer.
11. Ice Cream
Why not? If you can’t indulge yourself without worrying about vitamins and cholesterol, what’s the point of getting out of bed? Grab some Ben and Jerry’s and slurp it up before it melts!
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com