Eating in Season and Style at The Merion

At The Merion, we believe in the power of seasonal eating to promote health and well-being among our residents. Embracing the flavors of each season not only adds variety and freshness to meals but also offers numerous nutritional benefits.

Uwe Wilshusen, chef at The Merion, a senior living community in Evanston, Illinois said, “Cooking with seasonal ingredients is a rewarding and sustainable practice that can transform our meals and our health. By embracing the flavors of each season, we can create dishes that are both delicious and nutritious, while supporting our local communities and the environment.”

Let’s explore why seniors should eat seasonally and highlight some of the best spring and summer foods to incorporate into a healthy diet.

Why Should Seniors Eat Seasonally?

Older adults can enjoy a number of benefits when they eat seasonal foods. Those benefits include:

1 Maximizing Nutritional Intake

Eating seasonal foods allows seniors to maximize their nutritional intake by consuming fruits and vegetables at their peak ripeness. When produce is harvested at the right time, it is at its nutritional zenith, boasting higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
For seniors, whose bodies may require more nutrients to support optimal health and wellness, seasonal eating ensures they’re getting the most bang for their buck when it comes to nutritional value.

2 Supporting Local Farmers

Choosing to eat seasonally supports local farmers and the regional economy. By purchasing fruits and vegetables that are grown locally and in season, seniors can contribute to the livelihood of farmers in their community. This not only helps to sustain local agriculture but also fosters a sense of connection and community between seniors and the farmers who grow their food.

3 Reducing Environmental Impact

Seasonal eating is also better for the environment, as it reduces the carbon footprint associated with food transportation. When produce is in-season locally, it doesn’t have to travel as far to reach consumers, resulting in lower emissions from transportation vehicles.

Additionally, seasonal produce is often grown using fewer pesticides and chemicals, further reducing environmental impact.

4 Promoting Sustainability

By aligning their diets with the natural rhythms of the seasons, seniors can promote sustainability in food production and consumption. Seasonal eating encourages a more balanced and harmonious relationship with the environment, as it respects the natural cycles of growth and harvest.

Seniors who prioritize seasonal eating are contributing to a more sustainable food system that benefits both present and future generations.

By embracing the flavors of each season and incorporating fresh, seasonal produce into their diets, seniors can nourish their bodies, support their communities, and protect the planet.

Seniors grocery shopping

What Are the Best Spring and Summer Foods for a Healthy Diet?

Are you wondering what foods you should incorporate into your spring and summer diets?

Chef Uwe talked about his favorite spring and summer ingredients. “Fresh blueberries, sweet or sour cherries, wild blackberry, watermelon, fresh-picked strawberries, peaches, raspberries, fresh figs, apricots, arugula and other leafy greens like spinach and Romaine lettuce, and white and green asparagus, and spring onions.”

These seasonal foods are versatile, and delicious, and can give you plenty of ideas for simple snacks or robust meals. 

Spring Greens

As the weather warms up, spring greens like spinach, arugula, kale, and Swiss chard are abundant. These leafy greens are not only refreshing but also packed with essential nutrients. Spinach, for example, is rich in iron, while arugula offers a peppery bite, and kale is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K.

Incorporate these greens into salads for a light and nutritious meal, blend them into smoothies for a quick and energizing snack, or sauté them with garlic and olive oil for a flavorful side dish.

Strawberries

Spring heralds the arrival of sweet, juicy strawberries, bursting with flavor and nutrients. These vibrant berries are packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to any diet.

Enjoy strawberries fresh and ripe on their own, sliced over yogurt or oatmeal for a sweet and satisfying breakfast, or blended into a refreshing smoothie for a cool and hydrating treat.

Asparagus

Spring is the peak season for asparagus, a versatile and nutritious vegetable with a distinctive flavor. Asparagus is rich in folate, vitamin K, and antioxidants, supporting heart health and digestion.

Grill asparagus spears for a deliciously smoky flavor, roast them with olive oil and garlic for a savory side dish, or steam them lightly and add them to salads for a crunchy texture and vibrant color.

Tomatoes

Summer brings an abundance of ripe, juicy tomatoes in a rainbow of colors and varieties. These versatile fruits (yes, tomatoes are fruits!) are not only delicious but also rich in lycopene, vitamin C, and potassium, which promote heart health and reduce inflammation.

Slice them and layer with fresh basil and mozzarella for a classic Caprese salad, toss them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a simple yet flavorful bruschetta topping, or simmer them into a homemade marinara sauce for pasta or pizza night.

Zucchini

Summer squash like zucchini and yellow squash are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These versatile vegetables can be spiralized into noodles for a light and healthy pasta alternative, grilled with olive oil and herbs for a flavorful side dish, or baked into muffins or bread for a nutritious and satisfying treat.

Get creative with zucchini by stuffing them with quinoa and vegetables for a hearty vegetarian meal or slicing them thinly and layering them into a savory gratin with cheese and breadcrumbs.

Peas

Spring brings a variety of peas, including garden peas, sugar snap peas, and snow peas. Peas are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants.

Enjoy them raw as a crunchy snack, toss them into salads for added sweetness and texture, or steam them lightly and serve as a side dish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Radishes

These crisp and peppery root vegetables are at their best in spring. Radishes are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Slice them thinly and add them to salads for a refreshing crunch, pickle them for a tangy and flavorful condiment, or enjoy them raw with a sprinkle of salt as a simple and satisfying snack.

Cucumbers

Cool and refreshing, cucumbers are a staple of summer salads and snacks. Cucumbers are high in water content, making them hydrating and refreshing on hot days.

Slice them and add them to salads, sandwiches or wraps for extra crunch, blend them into chilled gazpacho for a refreshing soup, or pickle them for a tangy and crunchy snack.

Bell Peppers

These colorful vegetables come in a variety of hues, including red, yellow, orange, and green. Bell peppers are rich in vitamins B6 and C, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene. Enjoy them raw as a crunchy snack or sliced into salads, stir-fries or fajitas for added color, flavor, and nutrition.

Blueberries

These small but mighty berries are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Blueberries are particularly high in vitamin C and soluble fiber, as well as anthocyanins, which have been linked to numerous health benefits.

Enjoy them fresh as a snack, sprinkle them over yogurt or cereal for a burst of sweetness, or blend them into smoothies for a refreshing and nutritious treat.

Cherries

Sweet and succulent cherries are a delightful summer treat bursting with flavor and nutrients. Cherries are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and quercetin, which have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Enjoy them fresh as a snack, blend them into smoothies, or use them to top off desserts like ice cream or yogurt for a naturally sweet and indulgent treat.

By incorporating these seasonal delights into your diet, you can enjoy  fresh flavors while nourishing your body with essential nutrients. Whether enjoyed raw, cooked or blended into a delicious dish, these seasonal foods offer a wealth of culinary possibilities for a healthy and vibrant lifestyle.

Senior men enjoying lunch

Delicious Dining at The Merion

At The Merion, we believe that eating seasonal foods is not only beneficial for health but also a delightful culinary experience. By incorporating the best spring and summer foods into their diets, seniors can enjoy delicious, nutritious meals that support overall well-being.

Chef Uwe said, “Whether it’s the vibrant greens of spring, the luscious fruits of summer, the earthy mushrooms of fall, or the comforting root vegetables of winter, each season brings forth a new opportunity for culinary creativity. My favorites are the seasonal farmers markets. It is so inspiring to smell the wide variety of fruits and vegetables, to see the rainbow of colors.  Sometimes it even takes me out of my comfort zone to create with an ingredient I’ve never used before and isn’t that the best way to learn?”

The Merion’s dining program is just one part of what makes many seniors proud to call this community their home. Call The Merion today at ​847-250-0667 to schedule a tour. 

 

 

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