LifeSynch, a Humana subsidiary, offers extensive health behavior resources, including behavioral healthcare, employee assistance program (EAP)/work-life services, behavioral pharmacy services, health coaches and web-based wellness tools. As part of their commitment to change health behaviors and improve lives, LifeSynch’s health coaches are contributing a series of articles that demonstrate how easy it can be to make a healthy change.
Most of us are looking for ways to improve our health and well-being, and one of the easiest behavioral changes to make is adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet. There couldn’t be a better time to get started because fruits and vegetables are more plentiful and taste better and fresher in the summer.
Did you know that certain fruits and vegetables grow in different areas at different times, and it really does affect the taste? The type and variety of vegetables and fruits that are currently in season varies by region, but some of the summer bounty that is widely available includes many types of berries, plums, melons, pears, apples, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, cauliflower and corn.
How do you know what is in season in your area? The Sustainable Table organization offers an easy-to-use tool on its website that lists seasonal offerings in each state.
There are a variety of vegetables in season during the summer, and a great place to find them is at a local farmer’s market. By buying local, you increase your chances of finding the freshest and healthiest options because local in-season food has not incurred the environmental damage caused by shipping it miles and miles. This also provides an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and invest in your community. Plug in your ZIP code in the USDA National Farmers Market Directory and find a farmer’s market in your area.
Once you get home with your fresh produce, how do you prepare it and use it? Add summer strawberries or other fruit on top of yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal to get an extra serving of fresh fruit for the day. Or get creative and make a strawberry and avocado salsa using this Cooking Light recipe.
Eating fresher – and tastier – fruits and vegetables can make it a lot easier to make sure you getting the nutrition you need to live a healthier, happier life.
Ramona Cash, a site administrator for the personal health coaching program for LifeSynch, a subsidiary of Humana, has a bachelor’s degree in health education and a master’s degree in health science. She is also a certified health educator. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her bike, going to the farmer’s market, and cooking healthy recipes for her food blog, “Keep It Fun and Healthy.”