There are plenty of reasons to love the months of June through August, from relaxing vacations at the beach to summer Fridays in Washington. But what the following registered dietitians really love about this season are the refreshing, colorful fruits and veggies that pop up at local farmers markets. Read on to find out what summer foods made the list and why.
It’s not summer without that first bite into a juicy slice of watermelon, says Danielle Omar. “Jam-packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene, it’s the best natural thirst quencher on a hot summer day.”
Sonja Goedkoop loves these berries for their versatility. “I’ll eat them with just about everything—as part of breakfast, on a spinach salad, or on top of frozen yogurt.” Nutritionally, they’re a great source of fiber and are rich in ellagic acid, a phytochemical that may help prevent cancer.
With so many flavors in one bite, blackberries are the go-to summer fruit for both Cheryl Harris and Elise Museles. “Tart, tangy, just a little sweet—and, of course, loaded with antioxidants and fiber,” says Harris.
Tart cherries often get the credit for being a nutritional powerhouse, but Claire Lebrun says we shouldn’t ignore sweet cherries. “They’re also an excellent source of anthocyanins, which, along with fiber, vitamin C, and flavonoids, makes cherries super protective against cancer.” Phytochemicals in cherries have also been shown to lower inflammation in the body.
Juicy, fresh peaches are one of Stephanie Mull’s favorite summer fruits. It helps that they’re a great source of vitamins C and A and are very low in saturated fat and sodium.
Carlene Thomas loves zucchini not just for its nutritional benefits (certain antioxidants are beneficial for eye health), but also because she can cook the veggie so many ways. “Shred and sauté to create a nest for poached eggs in the morning, or stuff with beans for dinner,” she suggests.
So many months of the year tomatoes are inedible (“juiceless, tasteless”) that when summer rolls around Colleen Gerg can’t wait for a bite of a tasty Jersey tomato. “Add some fresh basil, a drizzle of good olive oil, a little fresh buffalo mozzarella (or not), and you’ve got summer on a plate,” she says.
These yellow-green fruits are high in fat, but the good kind. Their creamy texture makes them a much healthier alternative to mayo. Kait Fortunato uses them to make tuna salad or as a topping for a turkey sandwich. They’re also delicious with eggs for a nutritious, energizing, and filling breakfast.