As our recent heatwave showed, summertime is really, truly here. With the summer heat comes a whole slew of wonderful, cooling foods available in your garden, at your neighborhood farmer’s market, or at a You-Pick farm.
As I’ve mentioned before, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) encourages eating local, fresh fare. So, it’s essential to sculpt your summer diet around what you have available near you. It’s also important to focus on the health of specific organs and eating specific types of foods as the seasons change.
Heal Your Heart and Small Intestine in Summer
Each food has different qualities and benefits, so what you eat and when you eat it is an important part of natural healing. In summer, we focus on heart and small intestine health, encouraging you to enjoy seasonal foods that benefit these organs. Seasonal foods that are perfect for summertime wellness include:
- Red apples
- Red grapes
- Melons (as they come into season)
- Brussels sprouts
- Garlic/Garlic Scapes
- Leafy greens
And so many more! Summer is a time of abundance, so be sure to add seasonal foods to every meal you can.
Five Simple Strategies for Adding Fresh Foods to Your Summer Meals
You may see foods you’ve never tried at your local farmer’s market this season. If you haven’t eaten outside of your comfort zone, I’m hoping you will experiment with seasonal foods throughout summer. Here are five quick and easy ways you can add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily meals:
- Enjoy a stir fry. Include foods like bitter melon, garlic, onion, zucchini, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and leafy greens in a quick stir fry. Adding some fresh fare to your stir fry can not only make it taste much more delicious, but any new flavors you add will also meld with the whole dish – making it taste less experimental and more like you’re eating at a high-end restaurant.
- Leave a little room for dessert. Instead of going straight for the ice cream, eat fresh fruits for dessert. Watermelon, berries, seasonal melons, and grapes are all incredibly refreshing and can add a little zest to the end of your meal! If it’s just too hot to eat fruit, try a smoothie by throwing fresh fruit and frozen fruit into the blender. You’ll be surprised how delicious and refreshing they taste!
- Skip salty snacks. With the kids of summer vacation, it’s easy to go straight for bagged chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks. However, you might be surprised what your kids will pick to munch on when you have a healthy supply of grapes and apple slices, cut up watermelon, fresh berries, and snap peas to enjoy. Even a little cucumber salad with a vinaigrette dressing and hummus may hit the spot. Try stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies in place of salty chips and see if you and your child make healthier choices.
- Hydrate with fruit. When you are sick of drinking water all day long, and it’s too hot for tea, try hydrating with fresh fruit. Watermelon and grapes are fantastic options.
- Toss together a summer salad. Making salad can seem like a chore, but it’s really pretty simple in the summer. You can just chop up a cucumber or put whole snap peas in a bowl. Add some feta, red onions, and/or garlic or garlic scapes and a little bit of vinaigrette, and you are serving up a salad! You can also go fruity with summer salads and do a strawberry salad with some lettuce and vinaigrette. With so many fruits and vegetables to choose from, summer salads can be a simple and delicious way to add more fruit or veggies to your diet.
Are you hoping to get fit and healthy this summer? Why wait? Make an appointment at AOM Health today for nutritional consulting. Don’t miss out on the incredible variety of dietary options available right now!