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Seasonal Eating: Incorporating Spring Produce into Your Diet

Written by Vanessa van der Linden, Certified Nutritional Specialist

Calendar seasons are a great way to get re-inspired in the kitchen in order to fuel yourself and your loved ones. Certain foods shine during each season and giving those foods a spotlight can help get you out of a recipe-rut & give you some variety!

Eating a variety of colorful plants is key to getting in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and different forms of fiber. Antioxidants are found in the pigment or colorful part of the plant. The more rich in color, the more anti-inflammatory they are! For example, kale, cherries, and parsley are all deeply colored plants that can be added to your diet to increase your antioxidants intake.

What’s in Season?

Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that are in season each spring. Continue reading for ways to use these plants as well as some recipes.

Vegetables:

  • Asparagus, Artichoke, Arugula, Carrots, Chives, Fennel, Kale, Leeks, Parsley, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spinach

Fruits:

  • Apricots, Cherries, Grapefruit, Lemons, Kiwis, Strawberries

Easy Ways to Incorporate Seasonal Produce

Add seasonal greens and fruits to smoothies.

Buy cherries and strawberries fresh or frozen and add to a smoothie along with kale or spinach, protein powder or Greek yogurt for protein, and a liquid of choice (water, coconut water, milk). Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are powerhouses for nutrients are help to lower blood pressure, inflammation, and support overall health. Cherries and strawberries are a low-glycemic fruit option that will have a minimal impact on blood sugar for pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics.

Roast veggies like asparagus, carrots, and fennel.

Vegetables don’t need to be steamed to be healthy! Roasted, sautéing, and even “air frying” vegetables can be a great way to add texture and flavor. In general, all you need is to toss the vegetables (chopped or not) in some avocado or coconut oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven until golden brown and tender, times vary depending on the vegetable.

Cook your greens

Cooked dark leafy greens are a great alternative to eating them raw in a salad. Cooked vegetables in general are also easier to digest for those that struggle with digesting raw vegetables. Try sautéing your kale or spinach in olive oil or butter and adding some grated garlic, salt and pepper on top. You might even try adding lemon, grated ginger, or parmesan to add more flavor. You can also keep a bag of green in your freezer and easily add a handful or three into soups and stews.

Make soup

Cook chives, leeks, potatoes, greens, asparagus, etc. with some bone broth and blend up for a balanced, fresh meal. Add white beans to increase the protein and make the soup more filling.

Enjoy leftover potatoes

Cooked, then cooled potatoes are great for your gut health! This is because when the potato cools, the amount of resistant starch, a type of prebiotic fiber, increases significantly.  Prebiotics feed beneficial bacteria which support your immune system, make vitamins, and reduce inflammation. You may reheat the leftover potatoes if desired but they are best served cool or slightly warm.

Make herby sauces

Herbs are not only incredibly beneficial for health, but they also add so much flavor to dishes! Use parsley to make a variety of sauces to garnish on top of any meal.

Other Delicious Seasonal Recipes to Try

If you are looking for ways to start implementing healthy habits into your life, check out our blog, where we share healthy recipes and monthly workout routines. Patients are also welcome to make an appointment at our Tustin Wellness Center, where they will have access to our services which include nutrition classes, exercise sessions with our weight resistance trainer, and mental health services focused on the individual needs of every patient.  Please call 1(800) 597-7977 ext. 507 for more information on any Wellness program we offer.