Healthy summer dishes and recipes

Healthy summer dishes and recipes

Summer is here! We are all happy with the warmth and the sun. There are many summer cooks, but that doesn’t mean we should eat unhealthy foods. Here in Ohio, many fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer.

According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, the following fruits and vegetables are in season and the tastiest during this time: apples, asparagus, lima beans, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cilantro, kale, sweet corn, cucumbers, currants, dill, eggplant, endive and escarole, gooseberries, grapes, kale, leaf lettuce, leeks, mustard greens, okra, onions, green onions, parsley, peaches, peppers, potatoes, radishes, black raspberries, red raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries , tomatoes and turnip greens.

Fruits and vegetables are very important for a healthy, balanced diet. They contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for all body systems. For example, did you know that cucumbers contain vitamins K, B and C? They also contain minerals such as copper, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Cucumbers are also about 95% water that counts towards the daily water intake. They are a delicious crunchy summer snack! Try this tasty cucumber salad recipe at home:


4 large cucumbers, peeled

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups low-fat yogurt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Travel directions

– Halve the cucumber and sow it. Cut each cucumber boat in half lengthwise, then halve each quarter. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and parsley (or mint) in a medium bowl. Stir in the oil vigorously.

– Drain the cucumbers, return them to the bowl, pour over the yoghurt mixture and toss well.

Home-grown tomatoes are also very popular here in summer. Fun Fact: According to the USDA, a tomato is botanically a fruit, but in 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the tomato was a vegetable! Tomatoes contain lycopene which gives them their bright red color. Lycopene can also help protect our cells from damage. You can easily make this caprese salad yourself for a healthy summer treat:


3 bunch-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch-thick slices

1-pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices

20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Coarse salt and pepper

Travel directions

– Arrange slices of tomato and mozzarella alternately and place a basil leaf in between on a large, shallow dish.

– Drizzle the salad with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Sweet corn is also a favorite at this time of year. Corn comes in different colors. It contains fiber, vitamin C and many other vitamins and minerals. Be careful not to load your ear of corn with too much butter! Try some lime juice, olive oil, or a dash of chili powder instead. You can try this Mexican street corn salad recipe:


6 ears fresh corn

1 jalapeno

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup cotija cheese (or Parmesan)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lime juice (juice of a lime)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Travel directions

– Prepare corn by shelling and then grilling the ears on a gas or charcoal grill or over an open fire, until lightly charred and toasted. When cool enough to handle, remove the corn from the cob with a sharp knife.

– Grill jalapeno until skin is charred and black in places. Chop jalapeno and remove seeds and ribs for less heat.

– In a large bowl, combine corn, chopped jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, cotija cheese, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Throw lightly. Serve with a few extra lime wedges and an extra pinch of cheese and coriander.

Don’t forget to look for fresh fruits and vegetables at the local farmer’s market. While fruits and vegetables are generally considered healthy, they can potentially interact with certain medications or cause problems with certain medical conditions if eaten in excess, so check with your healthcare provider before starting any new diet.

Janessa Williamson, RN, is a health educator at Fayette County Public Health. June is the month of fresh fruits and vegetables. For more recipes, visit

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