There are several reasons to get excited about summer, for example, summer concerts, fairs, sports, camping, trips to the beach, and vacation. Are you looking forward to summer fruits and vegetables? What — you don’t like fruits and vegetables?! In this post, you’ll find reasons to get excited about them (especially this season), a list of summer produce, and tips on how to enjoy them more.
Note: This post was last updated June 29, 2021 and shares general information on seasonal produce and public health recommendations in the U.S. It does not offer or intend to replace any individualized health advice, which is best given by your medical care providers. An example of such advice may be to restrict potassium, fiber, or fluid in the diet for a kidney, digestive, or heart condition (respectively). For information on seasonal produce specific to your region, search online.
Reasons to Get Excited About Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables add lovely colors, smells, flavors, and textures to meals, making them appealing to all the senses, as well as healthy for the body. Most are high in nutrients and other good-for-you food parts, that is, water, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals, low in calories and sodium, and free of cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats. (Tropical fruits, such as coconut and palm, are the exception as they contain saturated fat.) Consuming them regularly may lessen the effects of potentially harmful parts of other foods and products of food processing.
Fruits and vegetables are recommended to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, but did you know that 80-90% of Americans do not consume the recommended amounts? For a healthy 2000-calorie dietary pattern, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day. A 1-cup serving is equal to 1 cup raw, frozen, cooked, or canned or juiced without added sugar, or ½ cup dried. For vegetables, a 1-cup serving is also 2 cups of leafy greens.1
Reasons to Get Excited About Fruits and Vegetables This Summer
Summer is the season when the most vibrant of fruits and vegetables ripen locally. When in season, produce is the most tasty, available, and inexpensive, and best for the environment. Summer produce also involves fun outdoor activities to engage in.
The deeper their hue, the denser in nutrients and plant chemicals they often are. Vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium, fiber, carotenoids, and flavonoids are among the good-for-you food parts found in red, orange, and dark green produce. Most of these help regulate blood pressure.2,3 Some vitamins and plant chemicals act as antioxidants, working against oxygen in reactions that cause damage to cells. Fiber helps reduce the gut’s contact with heart disease and cancer-promoting substances and rid the body of waste.
A variety of colors of vegetables is recommended for health. For a 2000-calorie healthy dietary pattern, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 5½ cups of red and orange, 5 cups of starchy, 4 cups of other, and 1½ cups of dark green vegetables, and 1½ cups of beans, lentils, and peas, per week.1
Summer Fruits and Vegetables
Whether or not certain produce is in season depends on the region, but common summer fruits and vegetables are below.4 Most are available for a small window of time, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity!
|Spring-Summer||Apricots, avocados, strawberries||Garlic|
|Blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, honeydew melon, peaches, plums, nectarines, raspberries, watermelon||Corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lima beans, okra, summer squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, zucchini|
|Summer-Fall||Mangos||Beets, bell peppers, garlic, green beans|
|Year-Round||Apples, bananas, lemons, limes||Carrots, celery, herbs|
Tips on How to Enjoy Them More
Use these tips to get the most out of your fruits and vegetables and enjoy them more!
- Take advantage of the window of opportunity when they are in season and the most flavorful and affordable.
- Plan ahead. Choose from a variety of colors, types, and forms.
- Accept any flyers or handouts on picking, storing, and preparing them properly.
- Avoid consuming them all at once. Control portions sizes and servings.
- Use scraps. Bake, candy, or zest peels and blend stems for a drink.
- Don’t let them go to waste. Bake in a bread, blend in a smoothie, cook in a soup, freeze for later, jar and pickle, or make a jam or jelly.
- Save seeds for gardening.
Engage in fun outdoor activities that involve produce, such as:
- picking fruit; pack buckets and knee pads in your trunk, drive out to a field or orchard, and pick berries
- shopping at a farmer’s market; stroll through the lot and listen to live music
- barbecuing (occasionally) or picnicking; enjoy them in your back yard or at the park
- gardening; plant and grow saved seeds
- attending a vegetable festival; participate in the various activities
Well, I hope you’re excited to enjoy more produce — especially this season! Do you like fruits and vegetables? Which ones are your favorite in the summer? Do you know someone who needs convincing? Comment and spread the love by sharing this post below.
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1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.
9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov
2. “Fruits.” U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate, Accessed 23 May 2021, https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/fruits
3. “Vegetables.” U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate, Accessed 23 May 2021, https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/vegetables
4. “Seasonal Produce Guide.” USDA SNAP-Ed Connection, Accessed 23 May 2021, https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide.