Summer brings a seasonal abundance of delicious new foods and is the perfect time to introduce new fresh fruits and vegetables to the entire family.
Try these four summer produce superstars:
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries provide vitamin C and antioxidants that can support kids' immune systems and overall health. They're also a good source of dietary fiber — with raspberries leading the way at 8 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving.
Do your kids resist fruits and vegetables? Give buttery avocados a try. Avocados can be added to tacos, as a spread on grilled cheese sandwiches or with some eggs and fruit in the morning. They contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as well as fiber, vitamin E and potassium.
While your family might enjoy debating if tomatoes are a vegetable or fruit, this superstar provides dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and other important vitamins and minerals. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, their naturally high water content makes tomatoes a hydrating choice. Slice tomatoes and serve with a little olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Add them to sandwiches. Or, chop them up and toss them into salads and pasta dishes. Another fun idea: Have your kids help you make fresh salsa.
Nothing says summer like a fresh slice of watermelon. This summer favorite is easy to eat and tastes great. With one of the highest water contents of any food, it's great for keeping kids hydrated on scorching days. It's also a good source of vitamin C and packed with lycopene. Watch out for seeds, which could be a potential choking hazard in young children.
Serve watermelon wedges for dessert or cut into cubes and mix into a fruit salad. Try putting watermelon chunks in the blender with ice, lime juice and honey for a refreshing slushy drink kids will love.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and writer in New York City.
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