When you think of the summer season, it’s hard not to think of the hot weather that comes along with it. And what better way to cool off from the summer heat than to snack on the fresh, juicy fruits and cool, crisp vegetables that summer has to offer!
Be sure to browse the selection of fresh produce available at your local farmer’s market this summer season. Along with being delicious, fruit and vegetable consumption plays a key role in good health as well. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), the combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables has been shown to aid in cancer prevention. Fruits and vegetables are also low in calories. Making fresh produce the main focus for each summer meal can help reduce and maintain a healthy body weight. Eating mostly plant foods, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, and being physically active everyday are AICR’s guidelines to help prevent cancer. These guidelines can easily be worked into your summer routine.
When hosting your summer barbeque, make every effort to avoid cooking meats on the grill at very high temperatures for a long period of time. High temperatures from grilling react with substances in animal proteins to form carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). To help lower HCA levels, avoid blackening your meats, flip food frequently while cooking, and use healthy, flavorful marinades on your meats, like fresh salsa, citrus juices or spices. Feel like preparing your entire meal on the grill? Try grilling up your favorite vegetables as a delicious side dish for your grilled meats. You can even make the perfect dessert for your barbeque by grilling your fresh fruit and making grilled fruit kabobs.
As summer approaches, remember to take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Grill lean meats at low temperatures and even try grilling your fresh produce! You can have a fun summer while keeping things healthy!
Kristin Waldron, RD, is a registered dietitian at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey.