an exclusive feature from Shanon Morris*, Nutrition Specialist
It just doesn’t get any better than this time of year. The flowers are blooming, the air is clear, and there’s tons of fresh produce to savor and enjoy! It’s a season all about you and those delicious, fresh, and nutritious choices you need to take advantage of.
While some may be looking for the latest fashions or running about with the kids, be sure to make it a routine to shop for local produce at your favorite Farmers’ Market stand. Remember: it’s recommended we consume five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and if you’re like most, your intake of fresh produce increases in the summer, but you still may not be making the daily “5”.
Check out these seven easy ideas and ways to include fresher produce into your diet this growing season! Like I said: ‘Tis the season’!
Pile it on — add fruits or vegetables like peppers or pineapple on top of your pizza or load up your sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, or even peppers.
Juice it/shake it up — a really healthful and popular way to get your nutrition. Start your day the right way with a tall blended glass of fruits and vegetables! Or go ahead and shake it up – everyone loves a creamy blend of fruits to cool down.
Tip: make it pop- Use 100% juice or better yet make your own fresh fruit juice to make ice pops. Include thinly sliced fruits to the mixture and you will have a refreshing nutrient dense snack the kids will love.
Salad — don’t just make the traditional house salad. Include a new vegetable or fruit from the market in your salad every week. And don’t forget to let the kids help.
Tip: salads are perfect for the whole family to make. Kids are great at tossing, mixing, tearing and even cutting with a plastic knife (under adult supervision).
Get Fruity — add fruit to your cereal in the morning, like blueberries or bananas- try something new and different. Yum!
Mix it up — include vegetables into your meals. You can add pureed carrots into your meatballs or celery or peas into your chicken or tuna salads.
Skip the crackers — use peppers, apples, carrots, broccoli, eggplant strips or cucumber as dippers for hummus or nut butter.
Wrap it up — instead of bread, wrap your sandwich in your favorite leafy green; you’ll get more vegetables and fewer calories and eliminate sodium! (Did you know bread can be high in sodium?)
For more information on fresh produce and Farmers’ Markets:
*Shanon Morris is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Crossfit Coach. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from Howard University, and a master’s in applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University. By day, Shanon can be found serving as the Associate Director of Community Nutrition for the Food Bank for New York City; and by night, she can be found coaching Crossfit and providing nutrition counseling to clients in Harlem. Shanon believes people can achieve what they once thought was impossible. She continues to empower people of all communities to make lasting lifestyle changes, in order to improve and maintain overall health and wellness.