KEEP Healthy

Understanding and Using Nutrition Food LabelsHealthy Living in Summer

Summer is still in full force and the season can be one of the most difficult times to be mindful of a healthy diet. With summer cookouts, last minute get-aways, and social gatherings still ahead, it is easy to forget the healthy eating habits that you have maintained all year long.

However, making healthy meal choices is a lot easier once you consider all the fresh produce that summer has to offer. It's not too late to enjoy these delicious seasonal choices. Next time you are in your local grocery store, or pass by a farmer’s market, be sure to add some summer fruits and vegetables to your shopping list. For a balanced diet, try adding seasonal produce selections to your meals, along with whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, and healthy fats.

Berries - Summer season is berry season! Berries are one of the most flavorful types of fruits and are also a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. For example, a single cup of sliced strawberries contains an entire day’s serving of vitamin C. Blueberries and strawberries are also a good source of vitamin E, and fiber as well. The brightly colored skins of berries are rich in antioxidants. Berries are also great in recipes to and can replace some of the unhealthier ingredients in your summer cakes and pies. Click here to find a healthier cake recipe to bring to your next summer event.

Spinach - Spinach contains high amounts of magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A and iron, in addition to other antioxidants and nutrients, making it a great healthy choice.

Watermelon - Who doesn’t enjoy a slice of watermelon to cool down on a hot summer day? Watermelon is a healthy choice for a sweet treat. It is packed with fiber, water, electrolytes, and powerful nutrients like vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, beta carotene and lycopene. One cup of diced watermelon is estimated to contain about 50 calories, making it a light afternoon treat.

Summer Squash - There are as many varieties as there are uses of summer squash. Some examples of these varieties are zucchini, crookneck, and straightneck squash. Squash can be eaten on its own, added to salads, or mixed into baked goods -- to name just a few preparations! Summer squash varieties can be a great source of potassium, folate, beta-carotene and fiber.

Apricots - Apricots are a fruit that is often overlooked in favor of more commonly known fruits like apples, pears, or oranges . The apricot is as healthy as these fruits, and in some cases even healthier. Fresh apricots are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, potassium, and iron, as well as being a great source of beta-carotene. Aside from the health benefits, it is also a great diet food choice because it provides a wealth of nutrients and a low calorie count. One whole fresh apricot is estimated to contain about 20 calories. Fresh apricots also do not contain any cholesterol or sodium.

Adding seasonal produce to your diet is just one of the many ways to make healthy choices. Whether staying close to home, embarking on a road trip, or taking an exotic vacation, there are ways to enjoy local flavors without overdoing it. As the weather cools down, it is also a great time to get outside and incorporate outdoor activities into your routine. Click here for some easy ways to KEEP Healthy year round!

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