Brittney Bearden, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD
Sports Dietitian, Texas Health Sports Medicine
Summer brings a wave of colorful, in-season fruits and vegetables. Purchasing and eating in-season produce is a cost-effective way to consume high flavor and high nutrient foods. Many fruits and vegetables are in-season during the summer months including peaches, nectarines, plums, watermelon, and berries. Although berries are small, they are packed with nutrients, fiber, and flavor. Berries are also a rich source of antioxidants, which help manage and reduce cell damage caused by oxidants.
When choosing berries at the grocery store, look for ones that are plumb and free of dents and bruises. If purchasing fresh berries, only buy what you plan to eat within the next 3-5 days. To extend the shelf life, wait to wash the berries until you are ready to eat them. Here are four berries to include in your diet over the summer months:
Strawberries: Full of immune boosting Vitamin C, strawberries are a great topper to salads, Greek yogurt, and oatmeal. To increase fiber in your next peanut butter and jelly sandwich, use sliced strawberries in place of jelly.
Blueberries: Anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants, give blueberries their blue color. Blueberries provide Vitamin C, folate, and manganese and can be incorporated into many dishes including pancakes, whole grain muffins, and smoothies.
Blackberries: Add heated blackberries to rolled oats for a blackberry crumble or pair with almonds for an afternoon snack. Blackberries are low in calories while providing Vitamin C and vitamin K.
Raspberries: Raspberries rank at the top of the list when it comes to fiber, containing an impressive 8 grams in 1 cup. Fiber aids in digestion and increases satiety to keep you feeling full until your next meal. Looking for healthier dessert options? Make chocolate filled raspberries for a delicious, healthier dessert.