The Heartland Spa & Fitness Resort (Illinois)
The summer months provide a great opportunity to fill our meals and snacks with fresh "in season" and locally grown produce! Corn, peppers, apples, berries, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, cabbage, radishes, peaches, and melons are just some of the fruits and veggies that are produced and available in Illinois during the month of August.
To view a complete list of all produce grown in Illinois, and which fruits and vegetables are in season during which months, please click on the following link. You won't believe how much is grown right here in Illinois! www.agr.state.il.us/wherefreshis/whatsinseason.pdf
I also encourage you to click on another link, which provides a wonderful list and map of all the farmers markets throughout the state. There's nothing better than fresh, home-grown produce.
One of the many reasons we are encouraged to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in our diets is to meet our daily vitamin and mineral needs. In addition, fresh fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that help protect against free radicals that damage our bodies. Fresh fruits and vegetables also provide fiber, which benefits digestion and help with weight management, contribute to heart health, assist with fighting a variety of diseases, and reduce our risk of cancer, just to name a few.
So the next time you're roaming the kitchen in search for a snack, think "fruits and vegetables." You'll be glad you did!
Tips for Meeting Your Daily Fruit Requirements
Dieticians recommend that adults consume 2 cups of fruit each and every day.
For those of you who may not know, a single fruit portion is considered 1 cup of fresh fruit, 8-oz. of pure 100% fruit juice or 1/2 cup of dried fruit. To help you reach your daily fruit consumption goals, consider starting breakfast with a glass of your favorite juice such as orange, apple, cranberry, prune, or grape.
If you eat cereal, add fresh fruit such as raisins, strawberries, bananas or blueberries. Other options for getting some fruit first thing in the morning include whole wheat banana pancakes, a fresh fruit smoothie, low-fat blueberry bagels or organic waffles topped with fresh strawberries.
To ensure that you are getting your daily doses of fruit, keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter so items such as bananas, apples, peaches, pears, oranges, plums and grapes are readily available. Choose fruits that are in season and at their peak…this is when they taste best and are usually less expensive. If you prefer dried fruit, a trail mix of fruits and nuts makes an excellent choice!
To help meet your daily fruit goals, consider snacking on cut-up, ready-to-eat favorites like watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew melons. It's best to buy small amounts of fresh fruit more often so they don't go to waste.
You can also meet some of your daily dairy requirements at the same time by enjoying yogurt mixed with fresh fruit (blueberries and yogurt make a delicious combination) or cottage cheese topped with sliced peaches or pineapple.