Did y’all know that June is “National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month?” Lucky us! In Virginia, we are blessed with a bountiful assortment of local farms and farmers’ markets, making it easy to find delicious fresh produce. This chart can help you see at a glance which foods are best at certain times of year. It looks like right now, beets, blueberries, green beans, and squash (and others) are at their best. Some of my personal favorites are on that list!
Beets are so good for you. They’re high in carbs, so if you’re watching your carb intake, you want to be careful about that, but they’re so good for you in so many ways. According to Dr. Mercola, beets can lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, have anti-cancer properties, and help your body detox. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate (important for pregnant moms to help prevent neural tube development issues).
If you want a truly amazing super food, beet greens are it. Dr. Mercola has a blog post devoted entirely to beet greens. They’re high in vitamin C and iron and extremely high in vitamin A. He says the vitamin K works with the calcium in the beet greens to help prevent osteoporosis.
Beets were never one of my favorites when I was a child. When I was growing up, I remember eating canned beets, and I thought they were absolutely disgusting. Now, as an adult, after trying them prepared differently, I’m getting over my aversion to beets. Here’s a great list of recipes for beets that just might help us all to open our minds to new possibilities. I’m thinking the Beet, Carrot, and Pomegranate Salad is looking mighty tasty!
Berries are so good for you. They’re low in sugar and full of vitamins. They’re low in calories and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. They’re full of antioxidants and may lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. The health benefits of blueberries are quite extensive. This delicious recipe would be quite festive at picnics this year. You could substitute greek yogurt for the coconut cream for an added protein boost. And any combination of berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.) would be quite tasty!
Green beans are so quick and easy to prepare, and they’re so good for you. They’re full of fiber, which helps your digestive tract and helps you feel full. They’re a great source of folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. My favorite way to prepare green beens is to quickly saute them for a few minutes in a little bit of olive oil and sliced fresh garlic. I squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top add some fresh ground pink Himalayan salt and black pepper. So simple and so good.
The health benefits of squash are numerous. My absolute favorite vegetables are squash, so seeing that infographic makes me feel pretty good about that! I love zucchini and I can’t get enough butternut squash. There are so many ways to prepare squash … grilled, baked, sauteed. Of course, butternut squash soup is delicious. Then, there’s the squash desserts. Who doesn’t like zucchini bread and pumpkin pie? OK, maybe zucchini bread and pumpkin pie aren’t as healthy as roasted butternut squash, but still…
Vegetables and fruit add variety to your diet. Eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day will help ensure you will get all of the vitamins and minerals you need to grow a healthy baby and have a healthy pregnancy. A lot of times, we get into ruts with foods, and we think of only one way to prepare a particular vegetable. By experimenting with new recipes, you can really broaden your diet, and you can learn to like vegetables you thought you didn’t like before, because what you really didn’t like was how they were prepared. Keep experimenting! This is the season to try new treats from the garden! Your local farmers’ market will have a lot of choices and ideas to help you on your way.