As you eagerly fill your cart with summer staples like melons, stone fruits and local tomatoes, don’t be so quick to dismiss these nourishing foods:
Potatoes are a nourishing source of carbohydrates, which your brain and muscles rely on to function properly. Plus, potatoes have as much if not more essential vitamins and minerals as other popular and “healthy” carbs like brown rice. They even have more potassium than a banana, which makes them the perfect food to fuel your summer sport activities.
Try This: Thinly slice and grill potatoes for your next BBQ or bake whole russet potatoes and use them as a taco shell replacement by loading up on ground turkey, beans, avocado, salsa and sautéed summer veggies.
Once a farmer’s market misfit, kohlrabi has become an increasingly mainstream food. It’s crunchy, juicy and has a mild, cabbage-like flavor and texture. This versatile cruciferous vegetable is as nutrient dense as its cousins — broccoli, cauliflower, kale and bok choy. Particularly high in Vitamin C, kohlrabi’s rich phytochemical content makes it a disease fighting powerhouse.
Try This: To enjoy raw, peel the tough outer skin then slice or shred it. It tastes great tossed with apples and pears in a slaw. Roast or mash kohlrabi the same way you would a potato.
While it’s a good idea to decrease your intake of highly-processed corn such as that found in fried tortilla chips, movie theater popcorn or high fructose corn syrup, an ear of locally grown corn on the cob can be very nutritious. Corn is rich in vitamin C, magnesium and B vitamins as well as the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which promote eye health. It’s also a good source of fiber and energizing carbohydrates. Choose organic corn over its genetically modified counterpart whenever possible.
Try This: Cut raw, fresh corn right off the cob and toss it into a salad or salsa to add sweetness and crunch. To quickly cook an ear of corn, fill a sauté pan with half an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the corn, cover and cook for three minutes then turn the corn onto the other side and cover again, cooking for an additional three minutes.
Let go of your fear that egg yolks will raise your cholesterol — that myth has been busted. Instead, embrace yolk’s good-for-you nutrients like phosphorus, immune-boosting zinc, B vitamins and selenium, which plays a key role in metabolism.
Try this: Showcase your farmer’s market haul with a beautiful frittata or make a batch of hard boiled eggs for on-the-go snacks.
For thousands of years, herbs were the foundation of most medicine cabinets. From antibacterial and antiviral properties to aiding in digestion, don’t forget to incorporate summer herbs like basil, oregano and thyme into your meals.
Try this: Purée fresh herbs with olive oil and freeze them in ice cube trays. Come mealtime, simply defrost one cube and use it as to make a dressing, marinade or seasoning for vegetables.
Including seafood in your diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve brain function and support healthy fetal development. Salmon, which is in season this time of year, is a rich source of high-quality protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Try this: Drizzle salmon with olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon and bake it in your oven at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Here are a few “no-flip” salmon cooking recipes and tips.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Healthy fats, like extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) should be celebrated in our diet. EVOO is satiating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich and health promoting. But know that not all olive oils are created equal. Look for a dark bottle that promises “first cold press” to ensure quality. Cooking with EVOO is okay, but consuming it raw maximizes the health benefits.
Try this: Enhance the flavor of seasonal produce with a drizzle of EVOO and a pinch of salt. This works wonders on summertime favorites like tomatoes, avocado and cucumber. You can also use it like a condiment and drizzle a bit onto your meal as a finishing touch.
Katie Cavuto MS, RD, Chef is a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian and wellness advocate. Katie is the dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers. For more of Katie’s recipes and wellness tips visit her blog. Her first book, Whole Cooking and Nutrition is available now.