It’s summertime and berries abound! With so many beautiful, bountiful berry options – strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry – it’s simply to die for!

Not only are berries super fun to look at and enjoy, they’re also full of nutrients that can do your body good. Once you’ve eaten your fill of succulent berry goodness you will feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven! Pick your own or buy them fresh from a farm stand, then rush home to make something yummy and healthy.

Berries aren’t just good to eat; they’re also good for you. They’re all low-cal and nutritious, but did you know that one cup of sliced strawberries contains just as muchimmune boosting vitamin C as one cup of orange juice? With only 53 calories to the cup, you’re also picking up nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

One cup of blueberries has a few more calories, about 83, and a smaller amount of vitamin C, but it’s rich in cancer fighting antioxidants. Raspberries can boost your vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium levels, with only 64 calories. Blackberries also contain antioxidants and are high in vitamins A, E, C, and K. A diet full of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries may even help reduce your risk of some types of cancer. Berries are loaded with fiber, helping in the never-ending fight against weight gain.

Don’t sugar your berries – eat them straight, letting the natural flavors shine through. In the morning, add some berries to your pancakes, or top of some whole grain cereal or oatmeal with a few berries to get your day started. At lunch stir some fresh berries into low-fat or Greek yogurt, or toss them in your salad, andyou will have a great treat that won’t bog you down during the afternoon.

For those hot summer days, nothing is more refreshing than a berry smoothie. Toss about a cup and a half of your favorite berries into a blender, add a banana, a half cup of low-fat yogurt, a cup of low-fat milk, and a half cup of ice cubes, blend, pour and enjoy. Add a few berries on a skewer for that festive touch.

Berries at home can be just as satisfying as a gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant. For dinner, instead ofbarbecuing with sweet, calorie-intense sauces, just boil down some berries with all-natural fruit juices or balsamic and make your own lean marinade. It’s heaven on earth with the beautiful berry; that’s why I say: “Berry me in heaven!”