With summer in full swing, we can’t help but yearn for the fresh produce that defines the warm, relaxing season. Stone fruits are great, healthy options to incorporate into your dishes over the three-month break. Plus, you can do so much more than just munch on them. Take a look at these tips and learn why these fruits are so beneficial and how you can get creative at mealtime.
Peaches & Nectarines
With fewer calories than the standard banana, fuzzy peaches and their smooth-skinned partners, nectarines, provide a wholesome way to add some punch to your dishes. Large sizes only contain around 60 to 70 calories, and they’re full of nutrients. Peaches have fiber, vitamins and vital minerals, such as potassium, a key element that helps you maintain optimum blood pressure. Nectarines also have multiple benefits, but one thing that sets them apart is their beta-carotene. Beta-carotene gives the fruit a bright color and is transformed into vitamin A, a nutrient that promotes healthy skin, immune system and eyes.
How to use them: Peaches and nectarines are a low-calorie snack that you can add to smoothies or use for salsa to accompany meat or chips. Or, try something a little different and make a peach or nectarine cobbler for dessert.
These small, fuzzy fruits have fewer than 50 calories, making them both portable and nutritious. They contain iron; if iron intake is low, you can become fatigued and weak. Plus, apricots give you vitamin A, which helps your vision (especially at night) and vitamin C, a nutrient that helps protect against heart disease and other problems. Summer is the perfect time to try something different, while apricots are in season.
How to use them: Apricots go great with vanilla ice cream for a sweet treat on a hot day. They also pair nicely with cinnamon. Whip up an apricot-yogurt-honey-cinnamon combo to start off your morning.
When I was a high school athlete, plums were one of my favorite post-workout snacks. With only about 30 calories, low fat content and a lingering tartness that leaves you wanting more, they offer yet another good departure from the typical apple/banana/orange selection.
How to use them: You can get fancy with plums: make plum pudding or plum salsa. Or veer on the simple, yet creative side, and add plum slices to salads or sandwiches.
These bite-sized fruits top off our list. Cherries are composed of more than 75 percent water and don’t have many calories; your stomach will feel more satisfied after you eat them, according to Livestrong.com.
How to use them: Dip bing cherries (your typical “red” ones) into chocolate fondue. If you’ve got rainier cherries, which have a yellow color and taste super sweet, add them to muffins.