Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Insider’s Viewpoint: 3 Fresh Ways to Savor Summer Produce

Summer may be winding down, but there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of the seasonal produce you can find in the produce department at your local grocery store or your very own garden. Here are three fresh ideas to savor your favorite summer produce.

Veggie Noodles
Replace traditional pasta with vegetable noodles for a lower calorie and carbohydrate meal. This trick is also an easy way to sneak a few veggie servings into your family’s favorite recipes. Beyond classic Italian dishes, vegetable noodles can be used in salads, stir-fries, side dishes and casseroles. If you don’t have a special spiralizer tool, simply use a vegetable peeler or julienne to cut veggies into long slices, then cut into smaller strips with a sharp knife if desired.

Sensational Salads
Salads are a no-cook summer meal staple. To liven up traditional leafy green salads, toss with a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables for color, texture and a bigger nutrition punch. And try giving salads a whole-grain boost by adding nutrient-rich quinoa, bulgur and brown rice. Eating on-the-go? Try make-ahead jar salads. Simply layer ingredients in a Mason jar, starting with the dressing and heartier ingredients at the bottom and more delicate produce towards the top.

How To Perfectly Grill Summer Produce
The intense heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, giving them an irresistible flavor and crisp-tender texture.

  1. Wash and cut pieces into a uniform size and thickness to ensure even grilling. The best fruits and vegetables for the grill include corn, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, broccoli, stone fruits, pineapple, bananas and citrus.
  2. Marinate veggies lightly with a vinaigrette salad dressing or toss them in olive oil and your favorite herb, spice or salt-free seasoning blend. Or try drizzling fruit with a little bit of honey or maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  3. Use a skewer or grill basket for small and round pieces to prevent them from rolling around and slipping through the grates. If you don’t have a grill basket, create a pouch out of heavy duty aluminum foil.
  4. Grill until tender. The cook time will vary depending on your choice of produce and size of the pieces.

Recipe
Are you looking for more ways to enjoy summer produce? Fire up the grill and dress up chicken and veggie kabobs with a sweet and tangy honey Dijon mustard glaze.

Honey Dijon Glazed Chicken Kabobs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Grill Time: 10-12 minutes
Makes: 4 (2 kabob) servings

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 3½ Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into (1½-inch) cubes
  • 1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ medium red onion, cut into 4 wedges, then separated into 24 pieces
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 16, ½-inch pieces
  • 8 grape or cherry tomatoes

You’ll also need 8 (10-12-inch) skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour prior to use to prevent them from burning.

Instructions
In a small bowl, whisk honey, mustard, vinegar, garlic powder and black pepper. Stream in the olive oil; whisking thoroughly to blend. Divide evenly into 2 bowls and set aside. Thread chicken, bell pepper, onion and zucchini evenly onto 8 (10-12-inch) skewers, ending with the tomato.

Prepare outdoor grill for cooking over medium-high heat (375°F-400°F) and spray with non-stick grilling spray. Grill kabobs 10-12 minutes, brushing with half of the reserved glaze during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Cook until the chicken reaches 165°F in the center and the vegetables are crisp-tender, turning occasionally. Serve over whole-grain brown rice with remaining glaze on the side.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 290 calories; 10g fat; 2g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 65mg cholesterol; 200mg sodium; 23g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 18g sugar; 25g protein; 140% DV vitamin C; 20% DV vitamin A.

 

Other Stories