Fresh fruits and vegetables are flavorful and abundant in disease-fighting nutrition. For example, peaches, nectarines, and corn harbor potent phytochemicals that help prevent free radical cell damage; watermelon and tomatoes contain cancer-fighting lycopene; blueberries, blackberries, and cherries boast quercetin, an anti-inflammatory; sweet peppers, strawberries, and kiwis pack a vitamin-C punch; and leafy greens and summer squash offer lutein, an antioxidant good for your eyes.

Combine these garden-fresh foods with canned beans, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, and healthy grains, such as couscous and bulgur, which need only a brief soak in hot water. Add protein to the mix by tossing in nuts, precooked tofu, low-fat deli slices, precooked shrimp, or ready-to-eat crabmeat. Using these tasty ingredients and the recipes here, you’ll enjoy summer’s sultry days without breaking a sweat.

Tuna-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6 / Fresh lemon, avocado, and chives give tuna a zesty flavor (look for canned “light” tuna, which is lowest in mercury). For another taste twist, take advantage of the smaller, sweet banana peppers available in summer. Get the recipe...


Cannellini and Summer-Squash Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Serves 8 / Summer squash come in a tantalizing array of shapes and colors: straightneck, crookneck, or scalloped fruits colored yellow, gold, cream, lime, or a striking dark green. For the sweetest flavor, opt for smaller specimens. Get the recipe...


Caribbean Wrap with Fresh Corn Salsa

Serves 8 / This low-fat meal scores high in flavor with the additions of vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh corn sliced off the cob. Use jarred roasted red peppers, available in most markets. Check your farmers’ market or natural grocery for orange, purple, or even jet- colored heirloom tomatoes. Get the recipe...


Shrimp and Snow-Pea Salad with Ginger-Mango Dressing

Serves 6 / A sensational meal your family may well request even after the heat wave is over. For added convenience, buy packaged, prewashed baby greens. Get the recipe...


Nectarine-Couscous Salad with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 6 / Sweet nectarines combine with a tangy and nutty dressing and healthy couscous in this tasty, light-on-your-feet salad. Try different combinations of superfresh summertime greens, such as frisée, curly endive, and baby spinach leaves. Get the recipe...


Pineapple-Crab Dip

Makes 2 cups / Serve with cut vegetables or spread on crusty French bread for a delicious accompaniment to a cold summer soup. Take advantage of summer’s fresh herbs, especially French tarragon, which quickly loses its wonderful licorice flavor when dried. Get the recipe...