Spring has sprung! And with spring comes all the bright, fresh produce that we have been waiting for all winter. Spring produce provides a pop of color that means lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And buying fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season is more budget-friendly than buying them out of season. Let’s see what’s “springing” up at produce stands this month!
Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, the orange pigment that converts to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A ensures good night vision and protects against eye issues related to aging. It also helps to keep the heart and immune system functioning properly. Raw carrots make a great snack dipped in hummus or a favorite dressing. Shredded carrots add extra nutrition to a huge variety of foods! Try adding them to salads, cakes, muffins, soups, even sandwiches! These Carrot Cake Pancakes are perfect for a spring brunch!
Fresh herbs can be an afterthought; just something green to sprinkle over a dish. But herbs pack a nutritional punch! Spring herbs like parsley, basil, mint, and dill are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Research shows that the antioxidants in herbs may play a role in blood sugar control, bone health, blood pressure control, and cancer prevention. Their bright color is appealing to any dish and their crisp, bold flavors revive our taste buds! Try this refreshing herb salad: Herb Salad with Pita Croutons | Giant Food Store (giantfoodstores.com)
As with almost all produce, spinach is an excellent source of fiber. It is full of vitamins and minerals, including potassium. Diets high in potassium can help keep blood pressure in good control. Spinach is so versatile! It can be eaten steamed, sauteed, dehydrated. It adds a pop of color and nutrition to smoothies, eggs, soups and casseroles. Try this 15-minute orzo and spinach salad at your next picnic: Easy Orzo Salad | Giant Food Store (giantfoodstores.com)
The antioxidants that give beets their vibrant purple-red color are thought to reduce inflammation, promote heart health, and help our cells produce energy. Beets have an earthy flavor so try mixing with other produce to make them more exciting! Combine beets with other spring favorites like feta and mint to make this sweet and tangy salad: Beets with Feta and Mint | Giant Food Store (giantfoodstores.com)
Asparagus is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about spring produce and has been enjoyed for thousands of years! Decorative carvings of asparagus have been found on ancient Egyptian architecture, dating back to 3000 BC. Asparagus is a good source of Vitamin K; used by the body for bone formation and blood clotting. It is delicious raw, steamed, or grilled. Look for white and purple asparagus too! Try making Asparagus Caesar, a fresh spin on Caesar salad; simply substitute asparagus for romaine lettuce and top with Caesar dressing, grated parmesan and toasted bread crumbs.