Eat your 7 to 10 a day
After a long winter—particularly the one we just had—the idea of being able to crunch into garden-fresh fruits and vegetables still warm from the summer sun is absolute bliss. Since June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and in many places the start of the summer harvest, it’s the perfect time to load up your plate with nature’s bounty. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is also a good, healthy habit to get into—particularly since this is just the start of several months of gorgeous local produce that you can cook with, snack on and indulge in.
According to Canada’s Food Guide, children should get between 4 and 6 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending upon their age and sex. Teen girls should get 7 servings and teen boys 8. Women and men should get between 7 and 10 depending on their age and sex.
A serving of vegetables and fruit is one-half cup of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit or 100% fruit juice, one cup of leafy raw vegetables or salad, or one piece of fresh whole fruit.1
Luckily, there are very delicious ways to get those servings in! The easiest is, of course, to simply pick and eat when the fruit or vegetable is ripe and ready to be harvested. Picking strawberries is a fun family activity that gets everyone out in the sun enjoying nature—and they’re a delicious, healthy snack! Check out Pick Your Own to search for local farms in your area where you can go to pick produce like raspberries, beans, apples, sweet corn and pumpkins.
If pick-your-own isn’t your style, many farms have small markets on site where you can buy produce that’s already picked and ready to buy. Check out your favorite farm’s website or give them a quick call to find out what’s currently in season and available for you to buy. You can also take advantage of large farmers’ markets that often pop up in parking lots and parks during the summer months, usually on Saturday mornings. Depending upon the month, you can find dozens of farmers selling produce, baked goods and sometimes even meat and cheese. Search online to find farmers’ markets near you using sites like Farmers’ Markets Canada, Local Harvest for markets in the US, and Local Foods for markets in the UK.
What to do with all that fresh produce? Cooking Light has some delicious and healthy fruit and vegetable recipes including skillet pork chop sauté with peaches, summer cherries jubilee, lamb chops with sautéed apples; eggplant, zucchini and tomato tian; charred vegetable salad; and sweet potato soufflé. Better Homes and Gardens offers some great tips for cooking fresh vegetables, and The Food Network can tell you how to make tomato and watermelon gazpacho, Provençal summer squash and potato gratin, and zucchini “fettuccine” with tomato sauce.
If you end up with more summer-fresh produce than you can eat (always a great “problem” to have!), check out The Kitchn for ways to preserve your summer harvest without canning, like making refrigerator pickles, freezer jam and dried fruit.
However you choose to indulge, make sure to fill your fridge, freezer, counter and plates with summer’s best during National Fruit and Vegetable Month. Enjoy!
411126B CAN/US (04/15)