Summer is my favorite time of the year. I love the long days and spending more time outside (especially when there’s a body of water involved!). I also love the variety of fruits and veggies that come into season during the summer months – melons, peaches, and cherries are some of my personal favorites. Summer is a great time to try a new fruit or vegetable, and best of all, with some smart shopping strategies you can afford to take your produce routine from “ho-hum” to “yum”! Here are some ideas for how to plan, shop, and prepare plant-packed meals.
Before you hit the aisles, try checking out your grocery store’s website to look at their weekly ads. Often, retailers will offer deals on produce that is in season, which means that you get great prices on produce that is at peak ripeness and ready to eat! Pre-cut fruit is great if you’re in a hurry but tends to ripen faster and is generally more expensive; you can save a few dollars by cutting your fruit yourself (YouTube is a great resource if you’re unsure about how to pick or cut fruit!).
Once you check the ads, think about what you want to eat over the week. Consider trying something new or get creative in what you add (or swap) into your favorite recipes. It can be easy to add a little extra fruit or vegetables into an existing recipe. For example, you could try adding a new fruit or veggie to your salads (like cherries or jicama) or use grapefruit instead of oranges in an existing recipe. Try adding spinach, artichokes, or cut tomatoes to a pasta dish. You could also experiment with different methods of preparation, such as grilling peaches or pears. Got fruit that’s gotten a little too ripe? Instead of throwing it away, try adding it to smoothies, cutting it up and freezing it for later use, or adding it to cooked foods, like oatmeal.
Fruits and veggies do so much more than simply introducing new flavors and textures into your recipes; they also add color to your meals! The summer months are an ideal time to “shop the rainbow” by buying fruits and veggies of different colors; the variety will help you get different vitamins and minerals that your body needs. By switching up your routine, you are also caring for and nourishing your body so that it can support you for years to come.