Gene and I recently took a trip to Napa Valley, California – known for its wine, beauty and high quality gourmet dinning. As we were driving through Yountville, one of the small towns, we came across the most beautiful 3-acre vegetable garden we’ve ever seen. I had to stop, take pictures and look at the extraordinary variety of carefully labeled rows of vegetables, fruit and herbs – many of which I’ve never even heard. Across the street, I finally noticed the legendary restaurant – The French Laundry – and it started to make sense: they were growing the highest quality organic produce to pick fresh that day to fill their amazing menu that evening. Unfortunately, we couldn’t eat there, as they were already booked (months in advance).
You can achieve a daily victory by adding more fruits and vegetables to your balanced nutrition plan. Unfortunately, very few of us can have such a wonderful garden to eat from, but summer offers a bountiful variety of fresh, delicious produce packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and low-glycemic carbohydrates that can be found in our local grocery stores and farmers markets. If that isn’t reason enough, diets high in fruits and vegetables help decrease our risk of chronic disease. Locally grown organic produce is fresher, tastier and healthier.
Add color and flavor to your meals with my top ten summer fruits and vegetable choices below:
• green beans
• bell peppers
• summer squash
Since it’s hard to stop at ten, here’s some more:
• white corn
Watch for your favorite fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season when the stores have them on sale. Save some money and buy in bulk to freeze and enjoy at a later date or use in smoothies for healthy snack alternatives. And remember, whenever possible, look for and choose organic.
Daily victories can be achieved in multiples when you include fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables at breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert.
*Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program