Summer is the season of abundance, and it is the best time of year to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables. Ditch the frozen berries and canned tomatoes and enjoy the bounty of fresh produce currently available! Eating seasonally is also good for the planet, and often more nutritious than frozen or canned.
Don’t know what’s in season right now? Check out https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/ where you can see what is in season in New York throughout the year.
Proper hydration is always important, especially in the summer months when the weather really heats up. Remember your daily fluid goal is 64 ounces whether it comes from water or protein shakes. Did you know that many fruits and vegetables are mostly made up of water? Here’s a list of 8 foods with a water content over 90% to keep you hydrated!
For Bariatric Patients: Keep in mind if you are a recent post-op surgery patient, these foods in their raw form are not permitted until stage 4 solid food. If you are in stage 3 (pureed/soft food), you can have these foods only if in a pureed form. Also remember that PROTEIN foods should always be eaten first, then non-starchy vegetables second. Even after you have advanced to solid food and beyond, sometimes certain foods can still be difficult to tolerate due to their high fiber content (i.e. celery). These foods are often better tolerated when cooked as they become softer.
Cucumbers are a delicious and hydrating summer vegetable that make a great addition to salads or as an alternative to a chip for dips and hummus. Try adding a few slices with lemon to your water to infuse some flavor! Cucumbers are also what give the popular Greek yogurt dip Tzatziki its signature taste.
Celery is almost 96% water, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nutritious! The combination of fiber and high water content in this humble veggie will hydrate you, satisfy your craving to crunch, and contribute vitamins A, C, and K. Celery can be added to stir fries, roasted vegetables, used to make flavorful soup stock, or added to a waldorf salad.
Not only do radishes add a beautiful pop of color to your plate, but they also add a lovely crunch and hint of pepper to any dish. They are low in calories and carbohydrates, averaging about 10 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates per ½ cup so they are considered non-starchy. Enjoy them thinly sliced or diced and added to salads, pickled with vinegar, or even roasted in the oven. You can also sauté the leafy green top part of radishes!
In addition to their high water content, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and the antioxidant lycopene. Add salsa to an omelet, drizzle sliced tomatoes and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar for a delicious appetizer, or add them to low carb wraps, sandwiches, and salads.
Bell peppers contain a high amount of water content around 94%. If you are getting bored of munching on celery and baby carrots, slice up some peppers for a change! They also make the perfect vessel to stuff with a lean protein and other veggies, then sprinkle with low fat cheese and bake in the oven until softened. Here’s a couple examples to get you inspired: buffalo chicken stuffed peppers or taco stuffed peppers using ground turkey and tomatoes – yum!
Strawberries contain the most water out of all the berries making them an excellent food to help you hydrate. They are also the lowest sugar fruit, containing only 7 grams sugar per 1 cup and 3 grams of fiber in addition to 149% of the daily value for vitamin C!
One of the healthiest convenience foods, baby carrots are excellent to snack on right out of the bag. They are pre-washed and pre-cut making it super easy to pair with hummus or a low calorie salad dressing as a dip. They are about 90% water and can satisfy your cravings for something crunchy!
Cantaloupe is about 90% water and contains high amounts of vitamin A and C. A 3 ounce serving only has about 25 calories. When ripe they can be very sweet and help satisfy any sweet tooth! Try blending cantaloupe with plain, low fat or fat free Greek yogurt and place in the freezer for an hour or two for a healthier version of frozen yogurt.