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It's tomato time!

Food and Fitness, Recipes

Few things are worth the wait as much as tomatoes in season. Who can resist their juicy, sweet taste, especially after eating often tasteless ones the rest of the year?

If you care about healthy foods, you have another reason—besides their flavor—to eat fresh tomatoes. A medium one packs 1½ grams of fiber and nearly 20 percent of the recommend daily amount of vitamin C. That fiber helps you feel full and avoid overeating, while vitamin C helps boost immunity and heal cuts.

And that’s not all. Bright red tomatoes owe their color to lycopene, a plant chemical that appears to protect against prostate cancer.

Try them this way

So don’t let summer slip by without indulging in plenty of tomatoes. There are lots of ways to enjoy them beyond tossing them in salads or making tomato sauce. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Add diced tomatoes to scrambled eggs.
  • Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over thick tomato slices topped with fresh basil leaves.
  • Stuff tomatoes with low-fat cottage cheese or tuna or chicken salad.
  • Quarter tomatoes and marinate them with onions and cucumbers in your favorite low-fat vinaigrette.
  • Bake sliced tomatoes seasoned with breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  • Combine lime juice and chopped tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, cucumber, cilantro and onion for a tangy salsa.
  • Top your pizza with sliced tomatoes.
  • Grill tomato halves on skewers.

Finally, remember that tomatoes taste best when they’re not refrigerated. Store them at room temperature away from sunlight and in a single layer, so they don’t get mushy.

Simple and Quick Greek Salad Recipe

  • 2-3 large tomatoes, cut in bite size pieces or one pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut in bite sized pieces
  • ½ cup olives (optional – Kalamata preferred)
  • 3 ounces feta cheese (optional)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Place the prepared tomatoes and cucumbers in a large bowl, add oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. If time allows, refrigerate for an hour to chill and allow the flavors to blend. Add extra or substitute vegetables and additional seasoning per your preferences: sliced red onion, cubed bell pepper, and/or minced garlic all work well in this recipe.

Serve with a crusty whole grain bread or over zucchini noodles (use a spiralizer on raw zucchini) to soak up the delicious juices.

Sources: American Institute for Cancer Research; Produce for Better Health Foundation