Looking good in a bathing suit is one thing. Feeling good in it is a whole other story. Here’s the good news: when you bump up your berry consumption in the peak of summer, you greatly increase your chances of sporting a healthier, happier body. If you didn’t know, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are powerful little beauties. They come with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that work synergistically with your body to maximize health benefits.
So what exactly are the benefits of berries? A 2016 meta-analysis indicated that regular consumption of berries significantly reduced LDL, fasting glucose, hemoglobin A1C and body mass index (BMI) in over 1,200 patients. Lucky for you, berry season runs from May through August, which gives you ample time to stock up on the bold-colored fruits. During their peak, berries are sweeter, cheaper and more nutritious than any other time of year. While you may certainly snack on berries in their fresh or freeze-dried form, these three recipes bring out the best of berry season.
Blackberry Overnight Oats
Thanks to satiating amounts of fiber and protein, these blackberry overnight oats have staying power. So now you can skip that mid-morning snack and take in fewer total calories. Over time, those missed calories add up, helping you reach your better-body goals.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
Directions: In a small jar or 1-cup sealable container, add all ingredients. Stir until well combined. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Enjoy cold or heated in the microwave (if you have time).
Nutrition per serving: 237 calories | 8 g protein | 36 g carbs | 7 g fiber | 6 g sugar | 8 g fat | 1 g saturated fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 121 mg sodium
Strawberry-Avocado Ice Pops
Don’t deprive yourself of dessert. Enjoy sweet treats in moderation – and preferably with a healthy twist. These strawberry-avocado ice pops are the perfect balance of good and good for you.
Ingredients for 4 ice pops:
Directions: In a small blender, add all ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Pour mixture into ice pop molds or paper cups with wooden sticks inserted into the center. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until frozen solid.
Nutrition per serving: 76 calories | 1 g protein | 7 g carbs | 3 g fiber | 4 g sugar | 5 g fat | <1 g saturated fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 75 mg sodium
Blueberry Iced Tea
Staying hydrated is imperative to a healthy body – especially in the heat of the summer. If plain water isn’t enticing enough, this lightly sweetened blueberry lemon iced tea will quench your thirst in more ways than one.
Ingredients for 8 servings:
4 bags black tea
8 cups water
1 cup blueberries
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. honey
Directions: Add 8 cups water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once water is simmering, remove from heat and add tea bags. Allow tea to steep 10 minutes. While steeping, add blueberries and lemon slices to a deep pitcher. With bottom of wooden spoon, muddle blueberries and lemon slices. Remove tea bags from water and pour into pitcher. Add honey and stir until well combined. Refrigerate tea at least 2 hours. Serve in a tall glass filled with ice.
Nutrition per serving: 21 calories | <1 g protein | 6 g carbs | 0.5 g fiber | 4 g sugar | <0.5 g fat | <0.5 g saturated fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 5 mg sodium