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Summer Celebrates Fiber-filled Fresh Produce

If you are making changes in your daily meal plan to include more fiber and reach  25 grams per day, there’s no better time than summer to make it happen.  Even summer picnics and celebrations offer opportunity to include more fiber-filled foods in the form of fruits and vegetables.  Here are a few tips and tricks for meeting your daily fiber goals this summer.

1)  Make fresh produce the center of each meal. Start with fruits and vegetables as the main course, and consider whole grains and lean protein the “side dishes”.

2) Make salads an everyday meal this summer. With salads, there are so many options to choose from or create. A fresh kale or arugula salad topped with nuts and seeds, fresh berries and avocados, for example, or a pasta salad mixed with cherry tomatoes, asparagus spears and garbanzo beans. The options are both limitless and delicious.  Get creative with the fresh ingredients you already have.   Consider these quick and simple salads in your weekly meal rotation.  Keep the skins to maximize the fiber.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 large tomatoes, sliced thick
1 cucumber, sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. cider or red wine vinegar based on preference
Kosher salt

Prepare red onion, tomatoes and cucumber. Mix together olive oil and vinegar. Pour vinegar and oil mix over veggies and top with fresh cilantro.

Summer Corn Salad

6 ears fresh cord, husked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp pine nuts or pepitas
4 Tbsp fresh mint
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil.

Preheat over to 325 F. Spread pinenuts or pepitas on a pan and toast for 8 – 10 minutes.  Boil or grill corn until kernels are soft and slice them from the cob. For a crunchy and sweet salad, forgo boiling the corn and slice it raw from the cob.  Add cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts or pepitas, fresh mint, olive oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.

3) Enjoy a bowl of fresh fruit after evening meals. Fruit is nature’s candy. Satisfy your sweet tooth while boosting your fiber.

4) Snack on fresh raw veggies.  Asparagus spears, green beans, broccoli, radishes, and others.  Summer is perfect timing for wholesome and crunchy snacks provided by Mother Earth, not a bag.

5) Fill the gaps with NuGo Fiber D’Lish. With 12 grams of fiber per bar, there’s no stopping you from getting all the fiber you need plus it’s the perfect on-the-go snack!

Summertime makes it easy.  Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the best sources of fiber this season.  Get out to your garden, farmers market, or local grocery and take advantage of all the fiber this season has to offer.

Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.