Summer foods can go far beyond burgers on the grill and waffle cones topped with scoops of ice cream. These sweltering months are actually the perfect time for people to fall in love with vegetables again – something that’s very important to me as a chef.
It’s scientifically proven that plant-based diets are healthier for you. The micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that fruits and veggies are chock-full of can treat, or even eliminate, certain ailments. Some of the compounds in these foods can even kill cancer cells.
Fruits and veggies are really good for us and are on this earth for a reason because our bodies need them. To improve your summer nutrition, here are some of my tips for eating seasonally in the summertime.
It’s not news that fruits and vegetables are good for our bodies. Some veggies are easier to like than others, though. Plenty of people love peas, carrots, zucchini and squash. But, there are plenty of other tasty options. Summer brings life to a wealth of new produce and gives us the opportunity to expand our palates by trying new things.
In June, we get tons of leafy greens like cabbages, lettuces, swiss chard and kale. This is also when stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums reach their peak. You’ll also see plump tomatoes pop up around mid-June and vibrant peppers by the end of the month.
I recommend picking out at least three
new things each time you visit the grocery store or farmers market. If you eat
the same things all the time, your body gets stuck. You’ll learn at least one
new thing you like when you start trying new things.
Keep it Fresh
Mint offers many health advantages that are often overlooked. It’s good for your gut and works wonders on an upset stomach. Also, mint has been known to calm your nerves. In particular, I recommend mint chamomile lavender tea. Chamomile tea is one of the only teas scientifically proven to reduce anxiety.
Mint can be used to add a refreshing punch to just about any summer dish. One of my personal favorites is a mint and watermelon salad.
Eat by Example
Learning to love veggies is not just for adults. Summer also offers a perfect opportunity for parents to expose their children to healthy eating habits. The only way kids are going to learn to love vegetables is if you feed them vegetables.
Overall, it’s all about exposure – the more you expose kids to different fruits and vegetables, the more inclined they are to appreciate them.
Head Chef, Live Blue Kitchen + Café
Kyle Williams is the Head Chef of the Live Blue Kitchen + Café at Blue KC. He focuses on preparing healthy meals using fresh, local ingredients.