Lunden Souza: Healthy eating is in season

06/09/2012 1:29 AM

06/12/2012 1:26 AM

Here we are, halfway through 2012 already. It is amazing how time can just fly by; I feel like I was just writing on making New Year's improvements, and here we are almost to summer.

Spring and summer are my favorite seasons because of all of the produce that's available.

When maintaining a clean, healthy and figure-friendly lifestyle, fruits and vegetables are always in the equation.

There are so many nutrients to be had and knowing when they are in season is key.

There are a lot of benefits to buying produce in season and one of them is cost. Produce in season is usually cheaper to buy because it's plentiful. The quality is always so much better, and the flavor is impeccable.

One vegetable that is newly in season in June is eggplant. Eggplant is a great source of fiber and has a lot of uses most people do not realize.

One of my favorite things to use eggplant for is lasagna. Unfortunately, pasta is not in my food groups when I am really trying to lean out, so I use eggplant as a substitute. The cool is that you do not have to cook the eggplant before you make the lasagna like you normally would do with noodles.

Take your favorite meat or vegetarian lasagna recipe and use eggplant instead of noodles, and reduced fat ricotta and mozzarella as well. This is a great twist on an Italian favorite and your friends and family will definitely love it.

Another easy way to cook eggplant is to fry it. Mix egg whites, herbs and spices in a bowl and dip sliced egg plant in the wet mixture.

When you are done, cover both sides of the eggplant in oat flour or whole-grain flour and then fry it in some extra virgin olive oil on medium heat on the stove. Serve with some protein and you have yourself a great and tasty meal.

Much to my excitement, berries are also in season. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries -- I just cannot seem to get enough.

Berries are extremely high in antioxidants and can be easily added to a variety of foods or even just eaten alone.

My favorite way to incorporate berries into my diet is in my oatmeal or in my protein shakes.

It is best to have berries earlier in your day. While they are extremely good for you, they are also really high in sugar, which needs to be monitored for a figure friendly diet.

If you eat berries within the first half of your day, you will reap all the benefits while being able to utilize all the sugar before you go to sleep and it is stored as fat.

In the summer, the heat really decreases my appetite. Lighter and fresher options are more my choice because feeling full and sweaty is not really my ideal combo.

One light option that I really love to eat is fish. White fish like tilapia and mahi mahi are great on a hot summer day -- or night.

For this meal, limes are at the peak of season in July and make for such good flavor on fish.

You can even add fresh lime to your guacamole. Limes are completely refreshing, so take advantage of them while you can.

Healthy food does not have to be boring and tasteless. If you are mindful of what fruits and vegetables are in season each month you will get the ultimate flavor and the most natural nutrients.

Find a full produce calendar to be sure that you are eating what is in season at www.lundenmichelle.tumblr.com.

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