Good, healthy food makes you feel good and look good from the inside out.
Summer brings so many healthy food options. There's an abundance of fresh produce, including many natural beauty foods.
"Summer produce generally tends to have a high water content," says Michelle Dudash, RD, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families. "That helps keep you hydrated, which minimizes wrinkles, because it's plumping up your skin."
Plus, warm weather begs for lighter meals and preparation methods, which may help slim you down.
"We tend to eat a lot of summer produce raw or grilled, which lightens it up," Dudash says. "Many summer foods have a lower carbohydrate content than starchy winter root vegetables, yet they still have fiber, so they're filling, but without a high carb load to bog you down."
1. Strawberries and Other Fruit
Strawberries are a prime example. These sweet berries are one of the best sources of vitamin C out there, with 163% of the daily value per cup.
"Fruit gives you a physical feeling of lightness while also being satisfying," Frechman says.
New ways to try it: "Put fruit on salad!" Frechman says. "Adding fruit to salad is very refreshing."
Zucchini is very low in calories, with only 20 calories per cup.
New ways to try it: "You can use it for veggie crudités, cut into batons or coins," Dudash says. She also uses it in a light summer pasta: She just dices and sautés it with garlic and onion and tosses the mixture with whole-wheat angel hair pasta, soft goat cheese, and shrimp.
3. Red Bell Peppers
With only 46 calories and 3 grams of fiber per cup, red bell peppers are a light yet filling addition to summer meals.
Also, Dudash says, "bell peppers are really high in antioxidants. They have a whopping 317% of the daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C is so important for collagen in our skin. We lose collagen as we age, so getting the nutrients that support it, like vitamin C, is an important anti-aging trick."
New ways to try it: Grill them. Dudash says, "To make soft roasted peppers that are way better than jarred, grill whole peppers until charred, then put it into a paper bag until cool, then slip off the skin. Pureed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, soft-roasted peppers make an amazing sauce to use over grilled chicken or fish.