As we begin to shed our winter wardrobe and prepare for the season of renewal – spring – it is also time to consider making a few changes to our eating habits. There is no denying the comfort and relaxation that goes along with lounging in our sleepwear or sweatshirts while savoring some hot soup or a delicious stew, but that is more of a scenario built for cold weather. Spring offers us a new opportunity to embrace a different way of enjoying food. Plus, this is the time to focus on eating lighter and healthier, embracing improved well-being, overall good health and perhaps even a bit of weight loss on the side. (We all know how quickly spring turns to summer, which translates to shorts and bathing suit time.) If you are ready to emerge from those old sweatpants and focus on a bountiful menu that is just as healthy and nutritious as it is flavorful and mouthwatering, then let us re-introduce you to the beauty of spring’s harvest.
Now is the time to eat foods that are in season. This is when they are also the most affordable, fresher and packed with the utmost of flavor and nutritional value. Prepare your grocery list early, as you won’t want to miss taking advantage of the amazing springtime offerings to set this uplifting season in motion.
Rich in potassium and low in sodium, this is the ultimate spring vegetable. Its alkaline properties work overtime to ensure you don’t get bloated, and its anti-inflammatory properties serve to break down those pesky carcinogens and other free radicals. Plus, it is a great food to consume for any weight loss goals you might have.
As kids, we probably spent more time pushing these little green balls around our plates than actually putting them into our mouths. Now that we are grown, however, it is time to make friends with them. These tasty little morsels really pack a healthy punch when it comes to their immune-strengthening, energy-boosting antioxidants and anti-aging powers! Plus, they are chock full of essential fiber and muscle-building protein. Peas will fill you up but won’t let you down!
It’s rare to come across a healthy eating plan that does not include broccoli. This powerhouse of a vegetable fights off body fat and aids in the battle against inflammation and joint destruction. Healthy joints allow us to stay trim and active throughout life. Rich in vitamin C, broccoli is the prefect agent when it comes to lowering cortisol, that annoying stress hormone that often rears its ugly head in our lives and leads to accumulation of excess belly fat. Introduce some broccoli into your diet and help keep your body toned and energized. And don’t hesitate eating this cruciferous beauty from root to leaf to get all of the essential nutrients it has to offer.
Sure, you can get dried apricots year-round, but if you desire fresh and picked during the actual growing season, spring is a great time to incorporate apricots into your eating plan. Aim for late spring and early summer, as that is when they are the most flavorful. Apricots are low in calories and fat and provide an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Yes, we know strawberries are great in desserts, but they also provide a tasty snack in other forms. You can use them in salads and with vegetables as part of the main course. Sautéed brussels sprouts with strawberries will make your plate look great, as will a creamy strawberry chicken salad. These bright red, juicy sweet treats can also be used in jams and jellies and are a super source of vitamin C, manganese, folate and potassium. Eating strawberries may also improve heart health, lower blood sugar levels and help prevent cancer.
If you need a quick and easy source of protein, look no further than the chickpea. Toss them in a salad or make a smashed chickpea salad sandwich.
For a great complement to your spring foods smorgasbord, goat cheese adds a special touch when crumbled over roasted vegetables like asparagus or beets, or you can enjoy them pan-fried and served atop green salads.
If your appetite is whetted for the tasty treats of spring, then you are off to a flavorful start to the season. Other inviting foods for this rejuvenating time of year include radishes, rhubarb, scallions, mustard greens, arugula, new potatoes, morel mushrooms, red leaf lettuce, spinach and artichokes. You can add even more flavor to your meals with chives, tarragon, mint and dill. Your body typically tells you what it needs at certain points in the year. As the heftier fare of winter gives way to the lighter tastes of spring, listen to what your body requests and enjoy these fresh foods of the season. If you find yourself craving these delectable bites, then you are on track to put more spring in your step!