June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month. We all know that fruits and vegetables are a healthy part of a balanced diet. With growing season in full bloom, now is a great time to commit to eating fruits and veggies. The American Heart Association shares tips for using and shopping for seasonal produce:
- Fresh foods are often less expensive during their harvest season. Watch for seasonal fruits and veggies at your local grocery store or visit a farmers market near you. If you aren’t sure what to watch for each season, save the image below as a quick reference.
- Shop the farmers market to learn more about produce and get ideas on how to prepare foods in season. You can find Nutrition Educators from the Food $ense program at many of the farmers markets across Utah. They are happy to answer any questions you have, provide you with recipes, and may even share a food sample!
- Gardening gives you fresh seasonal produce with a little exercise, too. Some may have the space and time to tend to a traditional garden; Others may be better suited for a box or planter garden. Either way, gardening can be a fun activity to do as a family. It provides you with your own fresh produce and gives you a sense of accomplishment with every harvest. For tips on gardening, click here.
- Frozen, canned, and dried fruit and vegetables can also be healthy choices. It is a common misconception that fresh fruits and vegetables are the most healthy. That isn’t always the case. Compare food labels and chose those with low amounts of sodium and sugar.
- Freeze fresh produce at the peak of its season so you can enjoy it throughout the year. Fruits and veggies will stay good in the freezer for 6 months to one year. Use frozen veggies in smoothies, spaghetti sauce, and even bread recipes.
For more tips and a free booklet on fruits and vegetables from the American Heart Association, click here.
Stick to the veggies listed in the recipe, or try your own combination. Carrots, zucchini, sugar snap peas, and red onions come to my mind as great additions. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Assistant