By Lisbeth Irish RDN CDN CDCES
June is an exciting month for those who love fresh fruit and vegetables in New York State. We’re already beginning to see local produce popping up in grocery stores and farmers markets. Strawberries, baby greens, asparagus, sweet peas, snap beans, rhubarb, and a variety of herbs are some of the early local crops you might find.
Eat the Rainbow!
We all know vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, but we sometimes forget that variety is as important as quantity. Eating many different types and colors of produce will help give your body the wide mix of nutrients it needs. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and the fiber can help keep appetite in check.
Knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season in your area can help save money as well as improve the quality of your diet. Local “in-season” produce may be less expensive and at their peak flavor. Visit pickyourown.org to learn when different kinds of local produce are harvested in New York State.
When you eat a variety of produce, you not only get a greater diversity of nutrients, but it also helps you create eye-appealing meals. Making half your plate fruits and vegetables is a goal for everyone. Creating a delicious meal with New York State produce is easy with SNAP-Ed NY and My Plate recipes. Two wonderful recipes you could try are a salad with baby greens, sweet peas and some juicy strawberries dressed with a light vinaigrette or a sauté of early summer vegetables. Check out the recipes at the links below.
Make 2022 the summer where you create a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your plate with all the colors of New York State produce.
Lisbeth Irish is a Registered Dietitian with the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). She has over 25 years’ experience working as a Registered Dietitian in a variety of settings and currently oversees the NYSOFA SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education program for older adults in New York State. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For more information on how to save time, save money and eat healthy, visit www.snapedny.org.