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grilled-vegetables.png Lew Robertson/Getty Images Plus

Summer Foods Need Education

There’s no better time to put the emphasis on seasonal foods than mid-summer, when there are plenty of berries in all shapes and sizes, stonefruit by the bushel and fresh corn and tomatoes hitting their stride. Fresh produce plays a big part in making summer memories.

But (and there always is a “but”) be ready to talk to customers and clients about more than the health benefits of in-season foods. Educating shoppers on preparation is helps them discover new ways for their families to eat healthy. Take a look in most shopping carts today, and it’s easy to see that most of the buying public is still vegetable and fruit “challenged.”

Put customers in the “ease zone” for making half the plate fruits and vegetables with some easy tips:

  • Point out the fact that most of the seasonal vegetables are fat-free fiber sources. 
  • Although it may not fit the image of the nutrition-savvy, sauteéing and oven frying do wonders for zucchini or other summer squash and eggplant. Try a dusting of grated cheese and some Panko bread crumbs!
  • Grilling veggies has long become standard barbecue fare, but don’t forget fruit! Grilled pears, peaches and apples double as a great addition to meat items or a base for a sweet for dessert.
  • Grilled corn on the cob is great, but off the cob it freezes easily for enjoying another day (or season. Thaw the kernels for winter soups and stews).
  • Combining vegetables in a stir-fry or adding fire-grilled vegetables as a topping for a salad adds new excitement.
  • Fruit and vegetable kebobs — alone or combined with seafood, chicken or meat — are popular in restaurants, so help customers bring them home with some ideas for preparation, marinades or seasonings.

Easy, affordable and packed with nutrition….. Vegetables and fruits of the season with some pizzazz! Who knew it could be so simple?

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