A few weeks ago, the Indianapolis Star published an article by Karen Fernau about new year’s resolutions and eating. Fernau noted that diet resolutions often focus on foods we shouldn’t consume, and she goes on to recommend a different route. Instead of focusing on foods to cut out of one’s diet, why not strive to incorporate new, healthier foods into your daily eating habits?
In the article, Fernau encourages people to add kale, canned sardines, garbanzo beans, tofu and almond milk. While all those are practical suggestions worth noting, I started to wonder what Indiana agricultural products I should focus on adding to my diet. Indiana is home to more than 30 fruits and vegetables that would make healthy additions to almost any diet. Here are my top five.
Blueberries: Blueberries are the perfect low-calorie, antioxidant-packed snack. In 2011, Indiana produced 1.6 million pounds of these scrumptious berries. Best Health notes that blueberries help reduce the risk of colon cancer, prevent hypertension, reduce belly fat and fight off disease. Sprinkle blueberries on your cereal, munch on them at work and/or mix them with some plain yogurt and drizzle with honey.
Watermelon: Obviously, Indiana watermelons won’t be found on the grocery store shelves this time of year, but make sure they’re on your list this summer! Indiana is a top producer of this crispy pink fruit. Watermelon is a personal favorite and helps keep me hydrated during our hottest months. Not only is watermelon an excellent source of vitamins A, C and B6, it also has the highest concentration of lycopene of any fresh fruit or vegetable, according to Discovery Fit & Health.
Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away… or so the saying goes! But what are the health benefits of the apple? Eating Well explains that apples aid weight loss, help keep the heart healthy and serve as a source of soluble fiber. In 2011, our state produced more than 20 million pounds of apples.
Tomatoes: As a leader in tomato production, look for Indiana tomatoes throughout the summer and don’t forget to purchase Red Gold tomatoes (an Indiana ag-business) for your canned tomato needs. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, and cooking tomatoes enhances their nutrients.
Cucumbers: Full of vitamins C & K and potassium, cucumbers are a refreshing and hydrating vegetable choice. Personally, I enjoy slicing up half of a cucumber and putting it in a cold pitcher water for a satisfying beverage option. Cucumber is also a great dipper for hummus.
These are some of the fruits and vegetables that I’m planning on eating more of this year. What foods are you interested in eating more of in 2014?