To Your Health

To Your Health by Pam Schaefer Pump up the produce this summer

Garden-fresh fruits and vegetables inspire many to boil corn-on-the-cob, toss a lettuce salad or blend a smoothie using the brightest berries. Most people struggle to fit in enough servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

The National Cancer Institute says that at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day promote good health and reduce cancer and heart-disease risk. Ten a day is even better!

It's easy to pack in the produce during the summer months when the selection is plentiful. All of that summer produce can make meals and snacks a lot more fun and a lot more nutritious.

Some of the best produce is available during the summer including fresh corn, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, peaches, peas, zucchini and cucumbers. A simple way to enjoy fresh produce is making a lettuce salad loaded with cucumbers, carrots, peppers, zucchini and onions. If you prefer a hot savory side dish, try grilling some veggies. Grilled pineapple, corn-on-the cob, zucchini, potatoes or tomatoes are easy and they add extra zing to your typical meal.

When grilling fruits and vegetables, simply cut them into thick slices, brush with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice, and place fruits or veggies on the grill turning frequently. Brush with more olive oil. Remove fruit or veggies when the skin begins to blister or the middle is soft.

Grilling time for fruits and veggies varies from 5 to 20 minutes.

Let these summertime produce ideas inspire you to pump up your produce servings this summer.

* Eat grapes as an afternoon snack.

* Start the day with a fresh strawberry smoothie. Blend 1 part strawberries, 1 part skim milk and 1 part low-fat yogurt.

* Split a whole cantaloupe with your family.

* Cut fresh watermelon for a hot afternoon treat.

* Eat a salad with fresh vegetables every night. Don't stop with just veggies; add strawberries, oranges, grapefruit or apples.

* Eat tomatoes daily.

* Add vegetables to sandwiches � try onions, cucumbers, peppers, sprouts or tomatoes.

* Not sure what to do with all that produce? Ask the Hy-Vee produce manager.

* For the ultimate produce-packed entr�e, try this zesty zucchini hamburger casserole:

Zucchini Hamburger Casserole

All You Need

1 pound lean ground beef

1 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. chopped green pepper

3 c. shredded zucchini

1 clove garlic, minced

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. chili powder

All You Do

1. Brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain.

2. Add onion, green pepper, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, black pepper and chili powder.

3. Simmer 15 minutes.

For more recipes and health information, go to and click on recipes.

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