I love this time of year – it makes healthy eating so much easier to do and if you are trying to lose weight or wanting to lose stomach fat, then the summer months make everything a lot easier – provided you steer clear of the heavy calorie foods and summer cocktails!
One of our Lose Baby Weight health experts – author and nutritionist – Kathleen Alleaume has created for us her top guide to the best and highest nutritional seasonal foods to give your weight loss and healthy eating campaign an extra kick. Read on below to get Kathleen’s weight loss tips.
The Weight loss benefits of seasonal eating
Summer is my favourite time of year, and the best part about summer is the season’s array of tropical fruits and vegetables…and there’s nothing like eating the season’s best. However, these days it’s hard to tell exactly what’s in season, since fruits and veggies are shipped to supermarkets from around the world, giving us an infinite variety to pick from at any given time.
So how do you know what’s in season? The best place to start is your local farmers’ market. Simply put, if the fruit or vegetable is not available, chances are it’s not in season – a good sign you’re not meant to be eating it then anyway. If you don’t have a farmers’ market close by, then check out your local supermarket for the best deals. You’ll know when blueberries are in season when they’re $3 a punnet or when mangoes are $1 each.
Why eat seasonally?
- Nutrition. Since produce starts to lose nutrients shortly after being harvested, out of season options will have lower nutritional values.
- Easy on the wallet. So many people think that it’s more expensive to eat locally and in season, where in fact it’s the opposite. Food in season generally costs less to produce and when food is in abundance, it means your shopping basket is cheaper.
- Supports the local economy. When you purchase fresh, seasonal food, naturally your food dollar will go directly to the local farmer. This helps to keep wealth within your community and supports local farmers.
- Better for the environment. By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by the pollution of shipping foods from thousands of miles away.
- Taste better. Fruits and veggies eaten shortly after they’re picked during their peak growing season will taste fresher, be better quality and have much more flavour.
My top five fruit and vegetables to eat during the summer months.
- Cherries provide a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They also contain anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant, known to reduce total body fat, in particular the ‘belly fat’ so great for adding into your smoothies to help to lose stomach fat
TIP: Create a salad with pitted cherries, or beat the summer heat by packing cherries in a sealed container with ice cubes for a picnic and enjoy with the whole family.
- Berries. Most berries, including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are available during the summer months. All berries, particularly blueberries are a potent source of antioxidants and many scientists believe a daily dose of fresh blueberries may hold the key to natural weight reduction by inhibiting the creation of new fat cells and are a favourite for adding into our weight loss smoothies.
Tip: Blueberries are the ultimate healthy addition to any breakfast, snack, or dessert. Sprinkle them over cereal, yoghurt or muesli, or make a nutritious blueberry smoothie. My personal favourite.
- Mangoes are a great source of fibre, potassium, calcium, and a rich source of vitamin C. And because mangoes are low GI, meaning they digest slowly into the body, will help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which will keep you satisfied for longer
Tip: mangoes are ideal as a snack or as part of a healthy meal. Make fruity frappes or mocktails by blending mangoes with ice for a refreshing snack, or team up with prawns, roast chicken or pork this Christmas.
- Capsicums. Regardless of colour, capsicums are a great source of vitamin C and potassium. Red capsicums in particular are rich in beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for healthy glowing skin and boosts the immune system.
Tip: Whilst capsicums are commonly used to add flavour and crunch to salads, their hollow shape also means they are perfect for stuffing. Capsicums also make a fast and healthy snack, especially when teamed with your favourite low-fat dip, such as hummus, tzaziki or light cream cheese.
- Avocados are a great source of healthy fats which are vital for good health. For those watching trying to lose weight, the type of fats found in avocados help release hormones in the intestine which may signal fullness and control appetite.
Tip: swap butter for avocado next time you’re spreading your bread, or make a chunky guacamole to go with prawns or chicken. Alternatively, mashed avocado on its own makes a perfect first nutritious solid foods eaten by babies.