June is the National Fresh Vegetables and Fruits month. It is a great opportunity to spread awareness about the benefits of including fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits in our daily food. Supporting the local markets by buying fresh produce or growing it at home is a great way to contribute to environmental sustainability too.
Eating healthy plays a major role in sustained weight loss and for a healthy body and mind. According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), only one in ten adults are getting enough fruits and vegetables. And so, many employers are promoting healthy eating habits through corporate wellness programs.
With summer shining on, June is an excellent season for berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, stone fruits like cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines, and vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, cucumbers, eggplants, summer squash, zucchini, and bell peppers.
All these fruits and vegetables make healthy and delicious dishes, and here we are with 2 quick and low-calorie dishes – a summer salad and a berry smoothie.
Summer Corn Salad
Corn is rich in fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and carotenoids that protect against inflammation and cell damage, reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases, and are good for eye health. It is also a great source of potassium, needed to regulate the circulatory system. Similarly, asparagus is also a great source of many nutrients, including fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and anti-oxidants. Bringing these seasonal veggies together with the healthy and colorful bell peppers can make a delicious, nutritious, and wholesome salad, which can be a great snack or meal in itself.
- Corn – 6 ears, husk and silk removed
- Asparagus – 1 bunch of spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Sweet red peppers – 7 ounces, roasted, drained, and chopped
- Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
- Basil – 6 leaves, chopped
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Balsamic vinegar – 1 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Black pepper – to taste
- Preheat a grill to medium-low heat. Oil the grate lightly.
- Grill the corn ears until the kernels are cooked and tender. Keep turning the ears frequently on the grill.
- Once cooked, allow it to cool. Cut the kernels off of the cob.
- Boil lightly salted water in a large saucepan over high heat.
- Cook the asparagus in the salted water for a minute until it is cooked and tender.
- Drain and rinse immediately under cold, running water. Let it chill well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the corn, asparagus, roasted peppers, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, and garlic.
- Add the salt and pepper as per taste.
- Mix well and serve immediately.
This recipe makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 173
- Protein – 6.4 g
- Carbs – 34.5 g
- Dietary Fiber – 5.4 g
- Fat – 4 g
- You can add more summer seasonal vegetables of your choice like peas or cucumber to this salad.
- Add onions, grilled fish, feta cheese, seeds, or nuts if you wish for the extra nutrition and taste.
Quick Strawberry Smoothie
Berries are probably one of the healthiest and most tasty foods ever. They are high in fiber, low in calories, rich in Vitamin C, and full of antioxidants. They aid in weight loss, regulate insulin sensitivity, and are good for the heart too. Yogurt is high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and probiotics. It can fix digestive problems and is great for bone and teeth health. Combining these two into a delicious and quick smoothie is a great way to start your day as a healthy and filling breakfast, or having it as a mid-day snack.
- Strawberries – 2 pints
- Plain yogurt – 2 cups
- Orange juice – ½ cup
- Water – ½ cup
- White sugar – ½ cup
- Ground cardamom – ⅛ tsp
- Combine the strawberries, orange juice, plain yogurt, water, sugar, and ground cardamom in a blender. Puree until it is all mixed well.
- Chill and serve.
This recipe makes 5 servings.
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 196
- Protein – 6.3 g
- Carbs – 40.5 g
- Dietary Fiber – 2.9 g
- Fat – 2 g
- Since berries are in season in summer, you can make a similar smoothie with any berry like blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries too.
- Similar smoothie can be made using any seasonal fruit of choice like cherries, apricots, or peaches.
- Add chia seeds, nuts, or other seeds for extra nutrition and taste.
- Make sure you do not mix acidic or sub-acidic foods together or with yogurt.
Recipe sourced and inspired by Allrecipes.com