The end of the summer season may be fast approaching, but we still have a few weeks to enjoy many of the tastes associated with warmer weather. With all the readily available fruits and vegetables being harvested from gardens, now is a great time to get in the habit of eating the MyPlate way. Try using these tips to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal.
Zucchini — Best known for bread, but don’t overlook these other great ways to enjoy zucchini:
• Grill it. Thinly slice and grill in an aluminum foil pouch with olive oil, spices and other vegetables.
• Add to salads and sauces. Dice and add to summer salads or to pasta sauces.
• Replace all or some lasagna noodles with zucchini ribbons. This will drastically lower the carbohydrates and calories in your pasta dish.
Tomatoes — Go beyond BLTs and salsa by trying one of these simple ways to serve tomatoes:
• Create a cold salad with quinoa, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers and chopped green peppers. Toss with olive oil.
• Bake tomatoes for a warm side dish. Spray or drizzle a baking dish with olive oil, slice tomatoes about ½-inch thick and sprinkle with whole wheat bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake until tomatoes start to soften.
Peppers — A perfect complement to a variety of dishes. Try one of these ways to eat more peppers:
• For extra color, add sliced or diced pepper to your favorite lettuce salad.
• Grill them. Brush with olive oil and lightly season for a great way to get in a vegetable serving.
Add to soups, salads, pizza and pasta dishes for added texture and flavor.
• Make Philly Steak Peppers: Fill peppers with thinly sliced roast beef, onion and provolone cheese. Bake and enjoy with a side of fruit for a meal in minutes.
Potatoes — A fan favorite that can be made healthier with a few simple steps.
• Try serving a baked potato bar for upcoming tailgate parties. Be sure to have lots of healthy toppings, chili, salsa, shredded cheese, peppers, chopped ham and Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
• Swap out some of the mayo in your potato salad and cut hundreds of calories from this popular picnic dish.
Sweet Corn — Think it doesn’t get any better than corn on the cob? Try cooking the corn in the butter (cut with a little olive oil to reduce saturated fat) with lemon and garlic and you may change your mind.
Corn on the Cob
Active time: 15 minutes | Total: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon Hy-Vee butter
1 tablespoon Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ears corn, husked
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons Hy-Vee lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Hy-Vee salt
1/4 teaspoon Hy-Vee fresh ground pepper
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute.
Add corn, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, gently shaking the pan occasionally to turn the cobs, for 5 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking, turning the cobs occasionally, until all but a few tablespoons of liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes more.
Nutrition facts per serving: 149 calories; 8g fat (3g sat, 4g mono); 8mg cholesterol; 20g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 4g protein; 2g fiber; 162mg sodium; 294mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (18 percent daily value).
Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.