Startling statistic of the day: only one in 10 Americans eats the recommended amount of fruits and veggies. Men, we’re looking straight at YOU right now. The CDC puts you as the worst offenders on the list! But ladies, you aren’t far behind in the lacking-daily-allowances area.
We thought we’d offer up a list of tasty summertime treats to encourage you to inch your way closer to those recommended daily values in an appealing and delicious way. Here are our top 4 favorite fruits of summer that pack a powerful nutritional punch:
Wonderful Watermelon: The average American consumes about 16 pounds of watermelon per year. We love the stuff! It is delicious and refreshing, which makes it a fantastic poolside snack. Watermelons are 92 percent pure H20, which means it helps keep you hydrated in the hot summer sun. It is also a great source of vitamin C and fiber to help maintain healthy digestion, and it’s sweet enough to satisfy sugar cravings. Slice it and serve it – it’s as simple as that! Don’t forget to give the outside a good rinse before cutting to reduce exposure to germs that may be harboring on the rind.
Scrumptious Strawberries: This fruit wears its seeds proudly on the outside and pops an intense flavor on the inside. One cup of strawberries provides nearly half a day’s recommended dose of vitamin C, offering a boost to your immune system, as well as antioxidant properties that may help with inflammation. Strawberries also contain potassium, which supports heart health and helps maintain good blood pressure. Blend them in a smoothie or pair them raspberries or blueberries for a summer fruit salad.
Picturesque Pineapples: Nothing screams “tropical flavor” quite like a pineapple. Besides being fun to look at, pineapples provide you a loads vitamin C and sneaks in a healthy dose of the mineral manganese. Manganese works with vitamins in your body to help keep your liver healthy and also supports regulation of brain activity. Like watermelons, pineapples are also an excellent source of fiber. An easy way to showcase the flavor of pineapple is to blend it up with orange or mandarins and a banana. You can drink it as a smoothie or pour into an ice cube tray (add a toothpick to each cube) and freeze for a refreshing popsicle snack.
Gorgeous Grapes: No list of summer fruit favorites would be complete without grapes. Table grapes (the ones that are not turned into wine) can be purple, green, red, and colors in between. These bunches of goodness, like their counterparts on this list, are full of vitamin C, but they also contain vitamin K, which supports bone health. Grapes also provide your body with potassium to help maintain healthy heart and kidney function. One fun way to serve grapes in the summer is to freeze them. Be sure you choose the seedless variety with this method. And if little ones are taking part, cut the grapes lengthwise and across to avoid a choking hazard.
Summer Squash: We know we said we were listing fruits, but we feel like this summer veggie earns a spot because 1) its seeds are on the inside (check out the internet’s uncertainty about whether or not summer squash botanically qualifies as a fruit), and 2) they’re so delicious that they deserve a shout out either way. Summer squash is sweet, versatile and is a source it’s very own list of goodness: vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium. If you’re a summer squash skeptic, try them on the grill next time you’re having a barbecue. Slice them up thick enough so they won’t fall through the slats. Rub with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper then toss them on the grill. Depending on how thick you slice them, they’ll take about 5-7 minutes to cook. Don’t forget to flip the halfway through!
Did your favorite summer fruit make the list? There are so many to choose from we had a hard time narrowing it down. We hope you’re inspired to hit the produce aisle and fill your cart with delicious and healthy snacks.
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