Many of us suffer through long, cold winters for those few glorious months of summer. Summer means nice weather, school vacation, the beach, and lots of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. There is nothing better than fresh juicy strawberries or crunchy lettuce to munch on at home or on the road. Produce can always be purchased at supermarkets, but there is something about just-picked-from-the-farm produce at your local farmer’s market or farm stand that makes salads taste better.

Fruits and vegetables are healthy additions to your diet and thankfully during the summer months many of these are readily available fresh from the garden. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults should consume 1.5–2 cup-equivalents of fruits and 2–3 cup-equivalents of vegetables daily. Vegetables and fruits are important sources of nutrients such as dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium. Consuming a diet high in potassium may help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Dietary fiber has been linked to reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. So take advantage of the summer produce and eat your way to health!

Healthy Summer Snacks

5 Healthy Summer Snacks

Salads – Salads are almost always a healthy choice. Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, and mustard greens are widely abundant for the summer months. Grab a few handfuls of greens and top the bowl with a colorful variety of vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, onion, and whatever your taste buds desire. For a more complete meal, you can add protein such as chicken, hardboiled egg, or ham, and fat such as avocado or olive oil. Just watch out for salad dressing as many of them contain lots of sugar.

Fruit Salad – Why not have another type of salad after your vegetable salad? Fruit salad makes for a healthy and delicious snack that can easily be consumed on the road or at home. All you need to do is chop up your favorite fruits and combined them in a big bowl. To ensure optimum freshness, squeeze a little lemon juice on it to protect the fruits from spoiling. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries all ripen during the summer months. Add in some tropical fruit like mango, pineapple and some melons and you’ll have a tasty salad in no time.

Smoothies – Summer is hot, especially in the southern part of the country. While you should be drinking a lot of water, smoothies are another delicious way to drink your fruits and veggies. There are probably 1001 ways to make a smoothie, but the beauty of smoothies is that you can add whatever you would like based on your taste preferences. Start with a base of leafy greens such as spinach or kale then add your favorite fruits and maybe even a few veggies if you’re feeling adventurous. Finally add some water, coconut milk, or yogurt and blend for a cooling and healthy liquid snack. Looking for some ideas? Check out Allrecipes collection of smoothie recipes

Grilled Skewers – When the snow melts one of the first things that comes out from storage is the grill. Grilling is synonymous to summer. Whether it’s your large multi-burner grill at home or the tiny hibachi grill that you keep in your cab for impromptu cookouts, skewers are fast and easy way to make a delicious snack or meal. Just throw on slices of your favorite meat with some vegetables and slap it on the grill. Vegetables like squash, zucchini, peppers, and eggplant are quite tasty when grilled. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, try slices of pork and peaches. Don’t have a grill? Make a caprese salad on a skewer. Tomatoes are considered a “superfood” and you don’t even need a grill.

Sliced Vegetables with Hummus - Hummus can be purchased at the grocery store or homemade. Check out Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa’s hummus recipe. Hummus and fresh sliced vegetables go together like peas in a pod. Actually, sugar peas are excellent when dipped in hummus! Hummus and vegetables are an easy snack that takes little prep time and can easily be consumed while on the road. Just chop up some of your favorite veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, and whatever else you might like and put them in a container with a little bit of hummus and you’ll have the perfect mid-afternoon snack for the road.

Summer offers the perfect opportunity to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and support your local farmers. Fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious and provide many health benefits. Most fruits and vegetables are portable and can easily be stored in your cab or in your refrigerator at home. So grab a carton of strawberries and a few carrots and hit the road with some fresh and healthy snacks. 

Image Source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/danzen/

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