Wellness + Nutrition

5 surprising foods to add to your summer menu

Burgers, potato salad and corn on the cob may be the first foods that come to mind when you think about summer meals. But there are many tasty foods you may not even realize are in season. Check out these five favorites — and get some meal inspiration.

1. Zucchini

Peak season: June to August

Health benefits: Zucchini is a superfood rich in key vitamins and minerals. Its magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus can help strengthen your teeth and bones.

Ways to enjoy: This versatile summer veggie is perfect for dishes like kebabs and casseroles (see our recipe for a zucchini-squash casserole). For a pasta alternative that’s both low-carb and better for your oral health, try making zucchini noodles!

2. Cherries

Peak season: May to August

Health benefits: Cherries are low in calories and packed with antioxidants. They contain plenty of vitamin C, which can strengthen your gums and protect against gum disease.

Ways to enjoy: These sweet, juicy fruits are great with salads. You can also pair them with oatmeal, blend them into a smoothie or turn them into a sauce for chicken or pork. Just be careful not to bite into the pits.

3. Eggplant

Peak season: July to October

Health benefits: This high-fiber, low-calorie food has many health benefits. It's full of calcium and potassium, among the most important nutrients for healthy teeth and bones.

Ways to enjoy: Because eggplant is so versatile, it's included in popular dishes around the globe. Roast, grill, bake or sauté it to make a delicious salad or side dish. Bake it into a casserole or purée it into a dip.

4. Plums

Peak season: July to August

Health benefits: Plums are a great source of antioxidants as well as vitamins A and C, which are needed for healthy gums and saliva production.

Ways to enjoy: Plums are delicious all by themselves. They can also bring some tartness to salads, or they can be made into great sauces or smoothies. Try them on low-sugar yogurt, or freeze some to enjoy later.

5. Lima beans

Peak season: June to September

Health benefits: Lima beans — sometimes called “butter beans” because of their texture — are packed with minerals. Their calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus help maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Ways to enjoy: Lima beans have a rich, creamy flavor. They are often used in soups, stews, casseroles and succotash.