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Summer (Nutrition) Standouts

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

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Jul 31st, 2018

Watermelon Feta Balsamic Bites

Summer is a time to rediscover your love for water sports, traveling and fruit! The produce section is never more colorful than in the middle of summer and the fruits that fall into the purple/blue, red and yellow/orange groups are generally the nutritious standouts! The plant compounds that give these fruits their color tend to also contribute antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Three summer standouts, one in every color, are mango, watermelon and blueberries. Read on to learn what makes mango, watermelon and blueberries special and for fun and seasonal ways to use them!

Eat More Mango

One of the most popular fruits in the world is also one of the most nutrient-packed. Mangos are one of our yellow/orange super fruits because they are packed with compounds (including polyphenols and flavonoids) that may offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity in the body. With a pulse of your food processor, transform a mango into a vibrant dressing/dip with this recipe for Quick Mango Vinaigrette.

 Quick Mango Vinaigrette and Dip

Mangos also add over 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, many of which have been linked to possible improvements in heart and immune health as well as brain function. One-half cup mango adds so much flavor and color to your dish plus 50% of the Daily Value for vitamin C and about 18% for vitamin A, with only 50 calories and 12 grams of carbs. For a sweet and spicy take on quesadillas, enjoy this summer recipe for Mango Jalapeno Quesadillas.

Mango & Jalapeno Quesadillas

Watermelon Brings More Than Water

Chilled watermelon is the ultimate refresher on a hot day! Red fruits tend to have certain plant compounds that come with the color red, many of which may have antioxidant and immune boosting activity. When you enjoy a bowl or a slice of watermelon you are getting many of these antioxidant compounds (like lycopene) plus several key vitamins including vitamins B6, A and C. A 90-calorie, 2-cup serving of watermelon is both filling and hydrating, thanks to it being made up over 90% water and being a great source of the electrolyte potassium. Enjoy watermelon on its own or in a fruit salad, blend it up for a slush, smoothie or beverage. For a quick but elegant appetizer or side dish, whip up this recipe for Watermelon Feta Balsamic Bites.

 Watermelon Feta Balsamic Bites

Get a Boost with Blueberries

These little powerhouse berries may help with heart health, cancer prevention and bone and brain health. Blueberries have a lot going for them nutritionally but much of their health benefits can be tied to the antioxidant plant compound that gives blueberries their blue color—anthocyanin. Several berry researchers have recently suggested eating 4-5 servings of berries each week, although the protective effects of berries on humans is still being studied. Blueberries can be stirred into yogurt, oatmeal or cereal, featured in smoothies or shakes, folded into muffins or pancake batter or sprinkled over salads or waffles! Get a dose of watermelon and blueberries with this recipe for Watermelon Paradise Pizza.

 

Watermelon Paradise Pizza

For more recipe inspiration check out our Pinterest page and comment how you enjoy summer fruit in the comments below!



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