Besides warm sunny days, summer is the season for a bounty of our favorite fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables. And the best part of summer shopping is that these tasty, nutritional foods are readily available at grocery stores and farmer markets with friendly prices. Preparing dishes with seasonal produce provides us with essential vitamins and minerals necessary to remain healthy. This is especially helpful for Medicare recipients and caregivers looking for healthy summer meal ideas.
While taste is a personal choice, our desire for certain foods will change as we age. This is true for Medicare recipients who are using medications. But, the delightful news is that healthy summer meals are easy to make and enjoy when using some of nature’s superfoods. Superfood is a term used to describe a food, generally plant-based, with health-promoting properties such as antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fatty acids.
12 Favorite Superfoods for Healthy Summer Meals
1. Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens are essential sources of fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamins B9 and C, and have high contents of antioxidants.
2. Avocados are rich in magnesium, fiber, and healthy forms of saturated fats.
3. Exotic fruits such as pomegranates, mangoes, and acai berries are superb sources of fiber, potassium, vitamin C antioxidants, and vitamins B9 and K.
4. Fresh berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries have nutritional antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. These edible berries are also low in calories that make them excellent in salads, in smoothies, in iced teas, and as a tasty snack.
5. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussel sprouts are full of fiber that can help to balance gut-healthy bacteria. Healthy fiber lets you feel full for a longer time and that can help with weight management.
6. Allium vegetables such as garlic, onions, chives, shallots, and leeks have antibacterial properties and are sources of beneficial manganese, selenium, fiber and vitamins B6 and C.
7. Fresh tomatoes have the antioxidant lycopene, and they are rich in potassium and vitamins C and A.
8. Citrus fruits such as fresh oranges, lemons, and limes are low in calories and have a high concentration of vitamin C, fiber, and water. While grapefruit is a citrus fruit, its acid content is not compatible with certain medications such as those that Medicare recipients take to control acid reflux. Seniors taking daily medicines should consult with their primary physician before adding grapefruit to their diets.
9. Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beets, and sweet potatoes (also known as yams) are rich with nourishing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and they are gluten-free. The sweet potato is a superstar amongst the root vegetables for its high content of potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and A.
10. Salmon is a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, selenium, several B vitamins, and protein. The National Institute of Health recommends 2 to 3 servings of fresh fish a week for their health benefits.
11. Eggs are a rich source of high-quality protein, several B vitamins, iron, choline, selenium, and the eye health antioxidant lutein. You can minimize the potential risk associated with the high levels of cholesterol in eggs by limiting your consumption to 6 to 12 eggs per week.
12. Yogurt is a dairy product available in both full fat and non-fat versions. Yogurt is rich in several B vitamins, calcium, protein, potassium, and probiotics. Greek yogurt has a higher protein value than other forms of yogurt. To avoid the sugar in many yogurt brands, buy the plain yogurt and add fresh fruits for a low-calorie sweet flavor.
Light and Easy Favorite Summer Meal Menus for Seniors
Knowing how superfoods can help seniors maintain healthy diets, look for ways to include them in your recommended 3 daily meals.
Breakfast Meal Menu Ideas
• Yogurt with fresh fruit
• Toast with peanut butter
• Microwaveable oatmeal
• Whole grain waffles
• Hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs
• A wedge of low-fat cheese and a banana
Lunch Meal Menu Ideas
• Fruit or vegetable salads
• Omelets with a serving of fresh fruit
• Egg and Watercress Salad on Toast
• Fish dishes with a side salad
Dinner Meal Menu Ideas
• Tossed salads with fresh vegetables and diced chicken, salmon, or seafood
• Pasta with diced chicken or seafood sprinkled with olive oil, oregano, and sweet balsamic vinegar
• Orzo pasta mixed with sliced cherry tomatoes, seared asparagus tips, and spritzed with fresh lemon juice
• Barbecued chicken slices or skewed shrimps over a bed of rice and peas
Variety is the spice of life and there is an endless number of creative meals that include your favorite foods. Try a new meal variety today that just might become one of your favorite dishes.