Springtime Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

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Springtime Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

April 4, 2013

It’s time to shake off the chill of winter and put some spring in your step as you enjoy the lighter flavors found during spring. Not sure what’s in season? Taking a stroll through a neighborhood farmers’ market is a great way to get familiar with the bounty of produce that spring has to offer, while also supporting your local economy. Here are a few classic springtime foods you won’t want to miss, whether at the farmers’ market or in your neighborhood grocery store.

Artichoke

If you’ve never had artichoke, you’re in for a taste treat. Artichokes are the unopened flower at the end of a large stalky bush. They are great sources of potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure, and fiber, which is useful in controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and keeping the digestive system happy.

Ways To Enjoy

Artichokes can be steamed plain, stuffed with breadcrumbs, or simply cut in half and grilled up as a unique side dish.

Grilled Artichoke

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 medium artichoke, steamed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions

Cut off the pointed tips of the artichoke and place upside down on a cutting board; slice lengthwise in half. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic and salt.  Lightly brush both cut inside ends of the artichoke with oil mixture and lay across a hot grill for about 10 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve with remaining oil mixture or a sauce of your choice.

Arugula

Arugula is an herb-like plant rich in vitamin A, which is responsible for helping us maintain good vision and a healthy immune system. And, like many other green leafy vegetables, arugula also is a very good source of calcium and iron. 

Ways To Enjoy

With its distinct peppery flavor, arugula pairs well with meat and pasta dishes, or can simply be used as a fantastic stand-alone salad green.

Arugula Goat Cheese Salad on Flat Bread

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkt artificial sweetener, your choice
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups arugula greens
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 (6”) whole-wheat pitas, toasted

Directions

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, artificial sweetener and salt/pepper in a small bowl.  Place the arugula, tomatoes, goat cheese and onion in a medium bowl and toss gently with the lemon dressing. Serve on a toasted whole-wheat pita.

Strawberries

Besides being super delicious, strawberries are nutritionally impressive with standout nutrients like vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, and fiber. Actually when it comes to fiber, all berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) take top honors.

Ways To Enjoy

Fresh strawberries can be enjoyed throughout spring and summer and are also available fresh-frozen year-round. Purchasing frozen is a convenient way to ensure you’ll have berries available regardless of the season. They also make wonderfully cool snacks as the weather heats up. Look for the frozen varieties without added syrup.

Strawberry Almond Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 4 large fresh (or frozen) strawberries
  • 1 (6-oz) container fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • ¼ cup fat-free milk
  • 8-9 dry roasted almonds
  • ½-1 cup ice cubes, depending on thickness preference

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutrient powerhouse, packed full of things like fiber, iron and an essential B-vitamin known as folic acid that, given its association with healthy fetal development, is particularly important for women of child-bearing age.

Ways To Enjoy

Whether steamed, baked, roasted or grilled, asparagus offers so much versatility. It can be chopped into salads, puréed for soups or served as a classic side dish.

Mediterranean Asparagus

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • ½ cup fat-free feta cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions

Trim woody ends from asparagus and chop into bite-sized pieces. Blanch in boiling water for about 1 minute; drain and place into a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss lightly.

Springtime offers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of milder temperatures for more outdoor physical activities like farmers’ market strolls. It also serves as a great reminder that healthier foods can be quite tasty and just the thing to put that spring in your step.

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