Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eating Light, Eating Right

To Your Health
July, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 07)

Eating Light, Eating Right

Healthy Foods for a Healthy Summer

By Keegan Sheridan, ND

Summertime is here, which means longer days, warmer temperatures and best of all, plenty of fresh produce. The beauty of summer's produce is not only in the breathtaking color that sweeps through grocery stores or farmer's markets.

The true beauty is actually within the produce. Summer brings health-promoting antioxidants in berries, fiber in corn, vitamin A in peaches, and lycopene, also an antioxidant, in tomatoes and watermelon.

Even cooks with the most basic skills can take advantage of the wonders of summer foods and prepare delicious, good-for-you meals in just minutes. When you combine a little bit of education with simple preparation, it can be fun to mix and match flavor combinations and natural ingredients to create well-balanced meals with optimal benefits. Here are a few quick examples.

Berries Start the Perfect Summer Day

Girl holding watermelon Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to learn how to work seasonal produce into your meals because there are so many quick options that take advantage of summer's offerings. A well-designed breakfast with protein and fiber means fewer cravings later in the day and more active hours to digest nutrients effectively. A simple way to add a taste of summer to this breakfast is with berries.

Berries, together with almonds, make a great topping on all-natural granolas and high-fiber cereals to provide your body the tools it needs for proper digestion. While the granola/cereal supplies the whole grains needed to fuel your body, the fruit is full of antioxidants and fiber. Best of all, this meal can take on entirely new flavors by making the slightest changes, such as strawberries one week and raspberries the next. Berries that are more exotic, such as goji berries and "yumberries," are becoming a healthy trend and easier to find in natural food stores. These are also great mixed when added to your favorite breakfast foods, like whole-grain waffles.

If you're looking for even more of a change from the ordinary, try making a homemade smoothie with 1 cup of plain yogurt, 1 tbsp nut butter, a banana and ½ cup frozen berries. A smoothie made from these types of ingredients is especially refreshing and energy-boosting on hot summer days because it is full of nutrients, fiber and protein to keep you satisfied all morning long.

Between the variety of good-for-you cereals, yogurts and summer berries, breakfast can take on many personalities and flavors. And most importantly, a well-balanced breakfast starts your day right because it gives you the foundation to continue making smart food choices throughout the day.

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