July is a great month to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. There are so many to choose from! Below is a list of fruits and vegetables ready to eat now.
Apricots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Nectarines, Watermelon and Strawberries.
Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Chard, Corn, Cucumbers, Fennel, Green Beans, Green Onions, Greens and Lettuce, New Potatoes, Peas, Celery and Zucchini.
Don't forget fresh herbs are available as well! Basil, Parsley, Garlic, Cilantro and Dill, just to name a few. Cooking with fruits and vegetables that are in season is an economical way to shop since the prices are typically lower. Plus, the flavor is intense, especially when buying organic.
When I tell people I am 80% organic, the comment I hear most is: Isn't that expensive? Here are a few reasons why organic isn't that expensive anymore.
Organic foods have become more popular driving prices down. There are many times when I am at my local grocery store and the organic produce is actually less expensive than the conventionally grown produce.
Organic foods are higher in nutrients, which will fill you up faster! That's right! Studies show organic crops — ranging from carrots and broccoli to apples and blueberries — have substantially higher concentrations of a range of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Another study showed organic tomatoes have almost double the concentration of a beneficial flavonoid known as quercetin, compared with conventional tomatoes grown on an adjacent field. (Source: NPR) When you get higher nutrients in the food you are eating, you get fuller faster! That means the cost per serving is lower than foods grown with pesticides.
Organic foods are an investment against future illness and disease. A recent study showed people who ate mostly organic foods, had fewer cancers — specifically post-menopausal breast cancer, lymphoma and fewer prostate cancers, skin cancers and colorectal cancers. (Source: Cleveland Clinic)
Earlier I stated I am 80% organic. That is because sometimes, it just isn't possible to get an ingredient or food that is USDA organic. If I can't find the organic version, I will buy the conventionally grown version. It is all about balance.
Eating fruits and vegetables when they are in season is a great way to promote good health. Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their day. Would you be shocked to learn that at each meal you should be eating 8 to 12 grams of fiber?
To put this in perspective, here are a couple of examples of meals with high fiber.
Toast with NutButter, Chia Seeds and 1/2 cup of berries = 11.5 grams
Oatmeal with 1/2 cup diced apples and walnuts = 9 grams
Fruit & Veggie smoothie with spinach, kale, banana, hemp seeds, cinnamon, almond butter and almond milk = 10 grams
Fiber is the most important nutrient in your eating routine because of the health benefits. Fiber keeps our gut healthy by providing beneficial probiotics and keeping us regular. If you aren't pooping every single day, your gut is unhealthy! If your gut is unhealthy, so is your immune system. 70% of our immune system is found in our gut. If you are trying to avoid colds, flu and viruses, a healthy gut is key!
Do you suffer from IBS, diarrhea, constipation, constantly tired, brain fog, moodiness, unwanted weight gain or loss, anxiety, depression, frequent colds and acne? These are just a few of the symptoms of an unhealthy gut. You can reclaim your health by working with me!
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The recipes listed below take advantage of the produce available in July. Some will be plant based, others will contain meat. If chicken or seafood is part of your healthy eating routine, feel free to add some to the plant based meals. Just because a recipe doesn't call for it doesn't mean it can't be added!
In addition to the recipes, I shared why the main ingredient is beneficial for our health. It is always fun to learn what specific health benefits we get from eating great foods.
I had to start with berries! Blueberries and strawberries are in season but you can always stock berries in the freezer to use in baking or breakfast recipes. Berries are full of antioxidants making them great for fighting inflammation, lowering cholesterol levels and may protect against cancers. (Source: Healthline) With those great health benefits, here are a few recipes to try:
Vegan Berry Upside Down Cake by Kara Lydon
CELERY Celery has only 6 calories per medium stick but is an excellent source of vitamin K, and a very good source of potassium and fiber. The new-news about celery is it has anti-inflammatory benefits, especially for the digestive tract. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods)
Beets are extremely healthy and easy to find already cooked in the produce aisle. Beets are known to promote a healthy gut, keep blood pressure in a normal range and have anti-cancer properties. Here are a few yummy ways to eat beets.
Cucumbers are a summer favorite of ours. We grow them in our garden so we are always looking for new ways to eat them. Cucumbers are high in antioxidants, may promote weight loss and are hydrating. Try these recipes the next time your neighbor shares their bounty with you!
Zucchini is a great summertime vegetable that is very versatile and healthy. It is high in antioxidants, contributes to healthy digestion and promotes a healthy heart. Here are a few recipes to try:
I hope you enjoyed learning how to cook with July produce. There are so many great fruits and vegetables in season this month that it would be a pity not to try something new!
Do you think you will try any of the above? Let me know by leaving a comment below.