Summer is a wonderful time to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables since there are so many wonderful varieties and flavors in season. Here are some ideas for you to do so with deliciously versatile sweet potatoes:
1. Grill ‘em up – Summer is a great time to fire up the grill, whether it’s grilling sweet potato fries or wedges or kebabs, or corn on the cob. Grilling adds a fun new flavor and is perfect for summer outdoor gatherings and barbecues.
2. Make a smoothie – Whether you have some fruits and vegetables that are on their way out or you love a refreshing, cold liquid option, smoothies are a wonderful way to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Load that smoothie up with berries, spinach or other greens, cauliflower or avocado for additional nutrient boosts. I love a Sweet Potato Beet Smoothie and this Ginger Orange Sweet Potato Smoothie.
3. Add a side to your favorite recipe – Consider adding a fruit or veggie side to your favorite summer pasta recipe or burger recipe. For example, adding greens, tomatoes, zucchini or onion to your pasta dish can add color, flavor, fiber and nutrients. You can even add sweet potatoes, like in this Sweet potato & Turkey Sausage Pasta or Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells. Another idea is to pair your burger with sweet potato fries or baked sweet potatoes. I love making and sharing a Sweet Potato Chipotle Salad and Spinach Sweet Potato Tater Tots on my summer tables.
4. Head to the farmers market – Your local farmers market is a great resource for adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. See what they have available and ask them their favorite ways to cook with their fruits and vegetables. You’d be surprised at how many good ideas you can get!
5. Add vegetables to breakfast – Breakfast is a golden opportunity to add some vegetables (or fruit) to your plate. If you love eggs, consider scrambling some with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms or greens. Or start your day off right by rounding your plate off with some fresh cherries, peaches, banana or berries.
6. Top your toast – If you’re a toast fan, consider topping your toast with some fresh fruit. A layer of peanut butter or cream cheese, honey and fruit is tasty and filling. Skip the store-bought jam and mash berries for your own jam, or layer ricotta cheese with fresh peaches and basil for a savory-sweet bite. Toast also makes for a great snack to increase energy levels throughout the day. More of a savory fan? Layer ricotta cheese with tomatoes and cucumbers or top your toast with mashed avocado and an egg. Sweet Potato toastalso makes for a filling meal!
7. Keep a bowl out on the counter – We know from research that we’re more likely to eat what we can see. Rather than hiding fruits and vegetables in the corner on the counter out of sight, consider keeping some in a bowl either on the kitchen table or center counter, where they are fully visible. Put them in easy-to-see containers in the fridge or place them in the front so they don’t get forgotten. This can help encourage more intake throughout the day.
8. Toss them in baked goods – These Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins combine fresh sweet potatoes and zucchini in a delicious baked good for the whole family. For a sweet option, this Sweet Potato Blueberry Bread is great paired with butter, peanut butter or yogurt.
9. Start a garden or veggie patch – If you have no idea where to begin in starting your own garden, these ideas from Real Homes are great for including kids and starting from scratch. Gardening can also be a fantastic way to entertain and spend time with children over the summer months.
10. Make fruit and veggie popsicles – Did you know you can make popsicles with sweet potatoes? These Sweet Potato Pie Popsicles combine sweet potatoes with protein-rich Greek yogurt for a balanced snack. You can even combine any fruits or veggies with liquids to form your own popsicles to freeze for later. This list from Taste of Home has 20 simple ideas for homemade popsicles.