Albeit a strange one this year…
Summer is my favourite social season, enjoying time with people outside, making the most of the lake here in Lugano or being at the sea somewhere. It’s a time for drinks and dinners with friends and family.
Summer 2020 with social restrictions means there will be more home entertaining. I’m going to share the best foods to eat at this time of year, so that when you are preparing meals for yourself or others, you can be happy in the knowledge that you’re serving food which will boost mood and health, so everyone will leave the table (or the picnic rug) feeling great!
It is really important to get as many nutrients in as you can right now so you can go into the outside world with as strong an immune system as possible, so read on to find out about what this season offers!
This word is everywhere, but what does it actually mean??
Superfoods are a selection of foods that contain more nutrients than average. They tend to be very high in the vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health and wellness. When you think of a superfood maybe the trending foods such as goji berries, kale, chia seeds, avocado immediately spring to mind, but don’t forget that by eating seasonally and locally you can get foods that are ‘super’ and provide your body with so much of what you need at every moment of the year. The superfoods below contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important nutrients that you need in this season for your body inside and out.
Watch my video for more thoughts on the super benefits of seasonal eating: https://youtu.be/DoNb4H62yn0
Here are 5 (of many) superfoods that are specifically designed by nature for the summertime. They are easy to find at this time of year, are great for some classic summer dishes and are perfect for lighter meals.
Always a firm favourite at my house which is great because the delicious, sweet taste of cherries encourages you to eat more of them and so we consume the higher-than-normal amount of vitamins and minerals that this fruit contains.
More specifically, by adding more cherries to your diet you’ll get a lot of amazing antioxidants, and notably, anthocyanin which helps to ease inflammation in the body and can help with joint pain.
I love kiwis all the time, but especially in the summer. This is a perfect summer fruit as it’s sweet yet a little tart, and goes amazingly with snacks and desserts at this time of the year.
There are a lot of essential vitamins and minerals in kiwi, one of which is a high amount of potassium. The potassium in a cup of sliced kiwi is similar to that in a cup of bananas. So, if you’re not a fan of bananas but need more potassium in your diet, you can’t go wrong with some fresh kiwi!
AND it’s lower in sugar and calories than bananas and many other potassium-high fruits and vegetables.
- Sweet peppers
Moving on to vegetables now and we’ll start with sweet peppers. These are nightshade vegetables though, so be careful if you tend to be sensitive to this food group. If not, then enjoy them in your recipes this summer.
Vary the colours you choose – green, yellow, orange and red. Using multiple colours adds vibrancy to your meals and helps to give you a variety in the nutrients.
Peppers contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and phytonutrients. They are very low in fat and calories and can help fill you up and bulk up your meals.
Dice them and add them to your salads, scrambled eggs, omelets, pasta salads or the soups that your family enjoys.
- Swiss chard
This may not be your favourite vegetable, but give it a go!! Swiss chard can go a long way towards a healthy diet, especially when you find new and interesting ways to use it. It also happens to be one of the top superfoods to enjoy in the summertime, or any time of the year when you can find it fresh.
What is swiss chard? It’s another type of dark, leafy green vegetable like spinach and kale but it is slightly more bitter. This bitter taste often keeps people from enjoying it, but that’s because they haven’t found the right recipes yet. If this is the case for you, then I will be posting some recipes on my social media pages to help you out!
Swiss chard is full of phytonutrients, especially in the red-purple stems and veins, which is where you get a lot of nutrients. It also contains potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that are essential for a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Anyone out there who doesn’t enjoy lemons and lemon-flavoured drinks and food in the summertime? Citrus fruits and summer seem to go hand-in-hand, so the fact that they are a superfood makes it even better!
Lemons are good for you because they are full of vitamin C and antioxidants but they also have other micronutrients and are very low in calories.
Here are some ideas of how to add more lemons in your diet this summer:
Infused water – as temperatures rise we get dehydrated so it’s more important to drink more. Infused water is a great option if a glass of plain water doesn’t inspire you. You can make simple lemon water or add in other fruits as well, like watermelon, lime or strawberries. A simple sugar-free strawberry lemon water tastes like lemonade, without the added sweeteners.
Lemon ice cubes – A really simple, make-in-advance way to add lemon into your drinks. Squeeze some lemon juice into your ice cube trays and add them to every glass of water you drink for nutrients and flavour.
Garlic lemon sauces – make a nice summer-inspired sauce that uses garlic and lemon together. It’s a great combination for a sauce or dressing that you could use in a casserole or on the BBQ with chicken, over a light salad, on pasta or to coat vegetables.
Now go and make the most of that seasonal fruit and veg, choosing locally grown so that the quick transfer from ground to market to plate ensures the highest retention of nutrients. Summer superstars at their freshest, tastiest and most nutrient packed!