It’s time to get revved up for planting season. Research shows that foods that are homegrown are likely to have more nutrients, and the people eating them are more likely to make better food choices as a result of the effort.
Plus, when you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you get to decide what kinds of pesticides and fertilizers to use – or not. That’s a plus for many health-conscious people today.
Ripe to perfection
Few things are worth the wait as much as tomatoes in season. Who can resist their juicy, sweet taste, especially after eating often tasteless ones the rest of the year?
If you care about healthy foods, you have another reason – besides their flavor – to eat fresh tomatoes. A medium tomato packs 1½ grams of fiber and nearly 20 percent of the recommend daily amount of vitamin C. That fiber helps you feel full and avoid overeating, while vitamin C helps boost immunity and heal cuts.
And that’s not all. Bright red tomatoes owe their color to lycopene, a plant chemical that appears to protect against prostate cancer.
Try them this way
There are lots of ways to enjoy tomatoes beyond tossing them in salads or making tomato sauce. Here are just a few ideas:
- Add diced tomatoes to scrambled eggs
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over thick tomato slices topped with fresh basil leaves
- Stuff tomatoes with low-fat cottage cheese or tuna or chicken salad
- Quarter tomatoes and marinate them with onions and cucumbers in your favorite low-fat vinaigrette
- Bake sliced tomatoes seasoned with breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
- Combine lime juice and chopped tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, cucumbers, cilantro and onion for a tangy salsa
- Top your pizza with sliced tomatoes
- Grill tomato halves on skewers
Finally, remember that tomatoes taste best when they’re not refrigerated. Store them at room temperature away from sunlight and in a single layer, so they don’t get mushy. Enjoy!