Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed all year round. In season fruits and vegetables are usually more affordable and make great additions to meals and snacks. Spring offers a variety of fruits and veggies including apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, collard greens, kiwi, pineapple, spinach, strawberries, etc.
Produce has many health benefits but unfortunately most people are not meeting the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies each day. In fact, research has found that, “just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations.” Not only are fruits and vegetables delicious but having a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
Reflect on your habits. Where can you add an additional serving of produce? Can you add a piece of fruit as a snack or add a vegetable to lunch? Start small and gradually incorporate more produce into your meal plan.
Check out the seasonal produce guide below for tips on how to choose fresh produce and healthy ways to incorporate these nutrient powerhouse foods into your meals.
- Choose cabbages that are firm with crisp leaves.
- Use cabbage in salads, soups, or sauté in olive or canola oil with diced onions.
- One cup of shredded cabbage only has 20 calories and is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
- Try this unstuffed cabbage soup recipe for a hearty but nutritious meal.
- Pick asparagus with firm stalks that have tightly closed buds.
- A serving of asparagus is about 6 spears (1/2 cup) and provides a variety of nutrients including folate, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.
- Need a healthy lunch? Try this penne pasta with asparagus and arugula Pair this salad with a serving of fruit on the side and or dairy serving (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.) to make a balanced lunch.
- Pick broccoli with a firm stem and green heads (dark or bright green).
- One cup of broccoli only has 30 calories and contains nutrients like folate, potassium, and Vitamins A, C & K.
- The stems are edible! Cut into small pieces and use in a salad or stir fry.
- This broccoli nugget recipe is a fun way to incorporate broccoli into meals. The kids will enjoy this crunchy side dish too!
- Choose pineapples that feel firm, free of blemishes, and have dark green leaves.
- One cup of pineapple has 80 calories and is high in Vitamin C.
- Looking for a fun side dish for a cookout? Try this pineapple salsa recipe at your next potluck.
Written by BWS Dietitian-Melissa Morningstar Vajas RD, LD