Spring Clean Your Diet

Best of Spring

Spring has arrived, and with longer days and warmer weather comes a new crop of fresh produce. ‘Tis the perfect season to “spring clean” your diet, so out with the heavy fall and winter fare and in with springtime fruits and veggies. In-season produce reaps the most nutritional value so here’s what to look for on the produce aisle or at the local farmers’ market.

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Strawberries

Strawberries are available year-round in most areas of the country, but their peak season is from April until June. These sweet, juicy berries are nutritional jewels with just 1 cup offering 3.5 grams of fiber and meeting 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. For the best flavor, buy strawberries grown close to home since they are likely to be fresher and suffer less damage in transit. Strawberries should be plump, firm, well shaped, and uniformly colored. A sweet addition to salads, dressings, or even a main meal, strawberries “take the cake” and save your waistline as a light dessert.

Asparagus

Dubbed the “food of kings” by Louis XIV of France, asparagus definitely have a royal nutritional profile. Low in fat and high in fiber, these tender stalks are a good source of iron, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Asparagus are at their peak from March through June but can be purchased year-round. Once harvested, asparagus deteriorate rapidly, so place them in cool storage to retain freshness and nutrition. Delicious roasted, grilled, or lightly sautéed in olive oil, these seasonal spears make a tasty addition to any meal.

Cherry love

Sweet Cherries

Succulent sweet cherries are only available during the late spring and early summer, so make sure to enjoy your fill. Sweet cherries are high in fiber and potassium, while remaining low in calories―just 1 cup of sweet cherries is about 100 calories. The intense color of cherries is due partly to their anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are a type of plant chemical (phytochemical) that are believed to be high in antioxidant activity. The best cherries are large (an inch or more in diameter), plump, firm, and rich in color and are equally delicious as a snack or dessert.

Continue reading here: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/spring-vegetables-fruits/spring-vegetables-peas

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