Eating Seasonally: Spring Into Healthy Food

Fitness Tips

Eating Seasonally: Spring Into Healthy Food

Fresh asparagus, snow peas, butterhead lettuce, apricots, blueberries, cherries, salmon, trout… if this list of foods makes you hungry, then you're in luck! These are only a few of the many delicious food choices that are in season right now.

Basing your diet on the foods that are in season in your area is a simple but profound step you can take to improve your nutrition and your health, and spring is a great time to start because there is such a wide variety of foods from which to choose.

Healthy Greens Are Abundant

 

Spinach
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Daniella Seguar.

 

No matter where you're located, spring is the time for greens. Lettuces and spinach love cool spring weather, and though you may find them at the market all year round, early spring is when they're at their peak. A sampling of spring greens includes:

  • Arugula
  • Beet greens
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Bok choi
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Chard
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens

Summer Isn't the Only Time for Fruits

Grapefruit
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Liz West.

 

While "fruits" may bring to mind juicy summer peaches or crisp fall apples, spring also offers a wide variety including strawberries, blueberries, cherries and gooseberries. Avocados – also a fruit – are in season in both spring and fall, which makes this a great time for guacamole and other avocado-based foods. Summer fruits may get all the glory, but spring fruits are awfully sweet too. A few spring fruits ripe for the picking:

  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries

Tender Garden Vegetables Are at Their Tastiest

Radishes
Photo courtesy of Flickr user ilovebutter.

 

Spring is the season for peas of all varieties, from snow peas to sugar-snap to the old-fashioned shell pea. Once the cool weather is over, peas quickly lose their vigor. Asparagus pokes its head above ground, and early root vegetables like turnips and radishes are at their best. If you live near the sea, spring is also the season for dulse, kombu, and nori. Spring veggies to brighten up your dinner:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Early cabbage
  • Fava beans
  • Leeks
  • New potatoes
  • Snow peas
  • Sweet peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Rutabagas
  • Turnips

Dairy, Fish, and Eggs Are at Their Most Nutritious

Salmon
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Vincent Diamante.

 

While meats are usually better during the fall and winter, poultry, dairy, and eggs are at their best in spring. Some areas even have a spring turkey season. Green spring pastures make for better-tasting and more nutritious dairy products. The abundance of fresh greens and insect life means home-grown eggs are tastier and more nutritious than they are through the fall and winter, and spring is the season for most varieties of freshwater fish too. Fish that are at their best this time of year are:

  • Bass
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Herbs, Seasonings, and Mushrooms Too

Garlic
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Vincent Diamante.

 

Though most herbs are at their best in summer, some prefer the spring and others, like ginger root and garlic, are available all year round. If you have a local farmer's market or you live in a rural area, spring is the season for many wild edibles including cactus pears, dandelion greens, fiddleheads, and morel mushrooms. A small sampling of herbs, seasonings, and wild spring foods you may find at your farmer's market:

  • Cactus pears
  • Cattails
  • Chives
  • Fiddleheads
  • Garlic
  • Gooseberries
  • Horseradish
  • Lamb's quarters
  • Leeks
  • Mayapples
  • Mint
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Mulberries
  • Parsley
  • Poke
  • Raspberries
  • Scallions
  • Tarragon

Spring is a great time to begin eating seasonally. Summer may get the recognition, but spring offers just as much variety.

Featured photo courtesy of Flickr user Sharon Mollerus.

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