The month of June means summer is here and at the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics we are celebrating National Fruit and Vegetable month! To celebrate a rainbow of colors that fruit and vegetables provide, spend time outside by visiting your local farmers’ market.
Throughout June, be on the lookout for in-season fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, strawberries, onions, broccoli, cherries, cabbage, kale and lettuce. In July certain varieties of apples, blackberries, peaches, cucumbers, summer squash, and tomatoes will be readily available. August, on the other hand, will have a harvest of pears, string beans, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, and hot peppers (pickyourown.org).
If you shop at your local farmers’ market, you are not only benefiting yourself by buying nutritious food, but also supporting your community and local farmers. One of the most popular fruit this time of year is strawberries. The best way to tell they are ripe is by feeling them to make sure they are not firm. A dark red, slightly soft texture is one of the best characteristics for quality strawberries (homeguides.com). Fruit is an excellent source of carbohydrates and natural sugars to provide us with lasting energy. Vegetables, on the other hand, provide us with essential nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Folic acid promotes lower blood pressure and less of a risk of having anemia. Vitamins A and C are essential for a healthy immune system, good vision, and cellular growth. Both fruits and vegetables also add fiber to our daily diets, which promotes a well-functioning digestive system!
It is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture that adults should eat 1 ½ – 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ – 3 cups of vegetables each day (choosemyplate.gov). Adding a variety of color to our diets can help improve our overall health and makes it more fun to get in our fruits and veggies!