Fitness Facts: Summer produce to purchase

By Emily Orvos
Campus Registered Dietitian

Grocery prices may be rising, but it’s still possible to stick to eating nutritious foods while keeping this in mind: One of the best ways to keep your grocery bill low is to buy your produce in season.

Fruits and veggies in season grow more abundantly, so it’s easier to produce larger quantities of these items. Larger quantities allow grocery stores and markets to sell produce at a lower cost than their out-of-season counterparts – think supply and demand.

Which fruits and veggies are in season will depend on your location. For those of us in Arizona, this can be a great way to support our farmers’ markets and shop for local produce when able. The Uptown and Downtown Phoenix Farmers Markets are short drives from campus and are open Saturday mornings during the summer.

Below is a list of fruits and veggies in-season for Arizona during the summer. Many of these foods (bell peppers and berries, especially) are great sources of Vitamin C, which aids the body in collagen formation for joint and ligament health.

Another plus to incorporating more in-season fruits and veggies: The high water content of these foods can help you stay hydrated during these hot months!

In-season summer produce and ideas for how to incorporate them into your diet:

  • Apples: Pair with peanut butter or almond butter for a filling, energizing snack.
  • Avocados: Homemade guacamole is always a hit at pool parties, picnics and barbecues.
  • Bananas: Peel, freeze and toss into a smoothie for a creamy consistency.
  • Beets: Toss in a salad to boost the antioxidant content.
  • Bell peppers: Fill with rice, ground turkey and cheese for an easy dinner.
  • Berries: Delicious on their own, or throw on top of Greek yogurt or an oatmeal bowl for breakfast.
  • Carrots: Dip in hummus or guacamole for a nutritious snack.
  • Celery: Great addition to chicken or tuna salad for a no-heat work lunch.
  • Cherries: This fruit (especially tart cherries) assists the body with melatonin production. Enjoy as a sweet treat one hour before bed for improved sleep quality.
  • Cucumbers: Slice and toss in your water for easy flavor.
  • Mangos: Great for salsa. You can eat them with chips or toss them on top of tacos.
  • Peaches: Peach cobbler, anyone?
  • Tomatoes: Also great for salsa, or make a caprese salad with mozzarella, fresh basil and balsamic glaze.
  • Watermelon: My favorite pool snack. Or freeze and blend into slushies to help you stay cool.
  • Zucchini: Toss on the grill for an easy side dish.

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration on how to use your summer fruits and veggies. Next time you go grocery shopping, set a goal to try at least one or two new produce items you wouldn’t normally buy. Have fun with your nutritious summer creations!

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Bible Verse

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 
Romans 8:28