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July 2018

The Ultimate Summer Produce Checklist

With summer in full swing, it’s a great time for children to discover the abundance of seasonal produce available! Summer has so much to offer when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables – with so many vibrant colours and delicious flavours to choose from. Eating with the seasons often means eating produce from closer to home. Locally grown fruits and vegetables may offer additional nutrients because they travel shorter distances from their harvest to your table. 

Looking for a little inspiration? Check out Food for Tots’ Top 10 Seasonal Fruits and Veggies below and find some ideas for serving up summer's best offerings to your little ones:

1. Watermelon

After washing, slice watermelon in half, end to end. Place each half cut-side down and make 1"-wide cuts lengthwise, then 1"-wide slices crosswise. You now have watermelon sticks! A great rehydrating snack for a hot summer day.

2. Cantaloupe

After washing, slice cantaloupe in half, end to end. Scoop out the seeds and follow same steps for cutting watermelon (above) to make cantaloupe sticks.

3. Corn on the Cob

Remove husks and boil corn for about 10 minutes. Drain water and brush corn lightly with butter. Cut the cob in half before serving or cut off the kernels and served mashed for younger toddlers.

4. Cherries

Cut into quarters or halves, remove pits, and serve with yogurt for a filling snack! 

5. Broccoli

Cut into small florets and place in a steamer basket above boiling water for 5-8 minutes.

6. Summer Squash

Compared to winter varieties, summer squash skins are thinner and perfectly edible! Cut squash into cubes, brush with olive oil and bake until soft. Top with tomato sauce and shredded cheese.

7. Peaches

Cut into wedges, serve whole, or peel and add to smoothies for a burst of natural sweetness!

8. Basil

Blend chopped basil with some grated parmesan cheese, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning to make a fresh nut-free pesto sauce for pasta or pizza.

9. Eggplant

Dice and sauté in an oiled pan until browned and softened. Mix in some tomato sauce and serve with other veggies, chicken, and rice for a balanced meal!

10. Beets

Peel and dice into bite-sized pieces and add to sauces or soups, OR slice into thin rounds, brush with olive oil on both sides, and bake for 20 minutes for healthy beet chips!

Happy eating!!!

By Melissa Frankel, Registered Dietitian, Food for Tots