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Summer Delights: Top 10 Summer Foods for Seniors

Vegetables on grill

It’s no surprise that healthy eating becomes even more important as you age. It fuels your body, energizes you, and helps you maintain your overall well-being. Here at The Oaks at Denville, we understand that. That’s why we focus on creating delicious and nutritious meals every day of the year.

But summer brings a special perk – a time to enjoy the freshest fruits and vegetables at their peak. New Jersey summers offer a vibrant selection of local produce packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Importance of Healthy Eating for Seniors

At any age, nutrient-rich foods play a crucial role in supporting your body and mind, helping you stay active and vibrant. Healthy eating is even more important for seniors for a few reasons:

  • Maintains overall well-being: As you age, your body becomes less efficient at processing nutrients. Eating a healthy diet ensures you get the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need to stay energized and maintain a strong immune system.
  • Helps manage chronic conditions: Many seniors manage chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. A healthy diet can help control these conditions and reduce the risk of complications.
  • Promotes healthy weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge as you age, but eating a balanced diet helps reduce the risk of obesity, which can strain your body.
  • Supports independence: Healthy eating can give you the energy to stay active and independent for longer. It can also help improve cognitive function and memory.

In-Season Summer Foods

Summer brings a vibrant harvest of fruits like berries, stone fruits, and melons alongside a bounty of vegetables like tomatoes, summer squash, leafy greens, corn, bell peppers, and eggplant. These in-season picks boast the peak of their flavor and nutritional value, offering a delicious and cost-effective way to maximize your nutrient intake and support local agriculture. Ready to explore the top 10 summer foods for seniors? 

Top 10 Summer Foods for Seniors

1. Watermelon: A low-calorie treat, watermelon is sweetest in the summertime and offers a variety of health benefits, including a decreased risk of cancer thanks to the antioxidant lycopene. Meal Tip: Blend watermelon, blueberries, lime juice, and ice to make a nutrient-rich frozen drink.

2. Summer Squash: These nutrition-packed veggies are high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. Meal Tip: Sauté summer squash with garlic, onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a quick and easy side dish.

3. Basil: This fragrant herb has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat arthritis. It’s also rich in vitamins A, K, and C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. Meal Tip: Add chopped basil to lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, chopped carrots, and balsamic vinaigrette for a tasty side salad.

4. Strawberries: These summer treats are packed with fiber, folate, and potassium. You only need to eat about three servings of strawberries a week to see their health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, a strengthened immune system, and enhanced brain health.  Meal Tip: Add strawberries to your favorite salad for a sweet health boost.

5. Blueberries: Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants believed to have the highest levels among fruits and vegetables. Consumption of blueberries, along with strawberries, is especially linked to improved cardiovascular health. One study found that eating berries can decrease your risk of heart attack by up to 34%. Meal Tip: Blueberries, granola, low-fat Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon make a quick breakfast that will fuel you for the day.

6. Sweet Corn: This summertime staple is a great source of many nutrients, including fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. Meal Tip: Grill your corn with butter and seasonings, like garlic or chili powder, for a smoky flavor reminiscent of a summer BBQ.

7. Tomatoes: Along with watermelon, tomatoes are a major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene. They are also a great source of vitamin C and potassium, which is important for those suffering from a potassium deficiency, sometimes brought on by blood pressure medications. Meal Tip: Making fresh tomato sauce is an easy way to help hearty pasta feel light and avoid added sugars from the jars you buy at the store.

8. Bell peppers: Served either raw or cooked, bell peppers are loaded with vitamins and minerals. One medium-sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, making it one of the richest dietary sources of this essential nutrient. Meal Tip: Simply slice peppers to dip into hummus for an easy, healthy snack.

9. Peaches: This low-calorie, juicy indulgence is a great source of vitamin C, which helps build connective tissue and strengthens the immune system. Meal Tip: Dicing peaches into fresh salsa adds sweetness and pairs nicely with cooked fish.

10. Eggplant: Eggplants are high in antioxidants and are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they contain a significant amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in a few calories. Meal Tip: Replace traditional noodles with eggplant in your lasagna dish.

Make Healthy Eating Part of Your Daily Life

At The Oaks at Denville, we believe healthy eating is about more than just nourishing your body. It’s about enjoying delicious flavors, trying new recipes, and sharing meals with loved ones. Our chefs create seasonal menus that highlight the freshest summer produce, ensuring you get the most out of every bite.

So come savor the taste of summer and enjoy the company of friends and neighbors at The Oaks at Denville. Contact us today to schedule your visit and discover how mealtimes can be a delicious and enriching part of your life here.

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