When you think of March, what comes to mind? If you are a registered dietitian, you most likely think — National Nutrition Month. If you are in the supermarket business you might also think — National Frozen Food Month. As a consumer, you may be thinking about St. Patrick’s Day or have visions of spring weather (for those of us on the East Coast). But no matter what came to mind, there is one common theme … produce! March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to remember to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal.
3 Ways to Focus on Produce in March
- National Frozen Food Month. Frozen fruits and vegetables, without added sauces and sweeteners, are just as nutritious as fresh – and much more convenient at times. Plan meals, like casseroles, that work well with frozen veggies and keep vegetables that you can steam in their bag on hand so you can always have a veggie at dinner. Not sure what to do with frozen fruit beyond adding it to a smoothie? Pack some up in the morning and it will be perfectly thawed at lunch or snack time.
- St. Patrick’s Day. Corned beef and CABBAGE anyone? How about a green smoothie made with kale and spinach (Spinach Day is March 2), or even one with avocado (Green Tea & Avocado Smoothie)? And don’t forget about a simple green veggie tray with raw cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, and celery (oh yeah, it’s also National Celery Month).
- Spring. As I mentioned earlier, frozen produce is great – but the taste and price of early spring produce can’t be beat. I especially love asparagus and snow peas this time of the year.
So, the next time you think about a theme or holiday – ask yourself, how can I celebrate with produce? This will have you celebrating National Nutrition Month all year round!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
- 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp. chopped onion
- 2 tsp. lime or lemon juice
- 4 oz. can mild chopped green chilies
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ cup seeded diced tomato
- Chopped cilantro for garnish, optional
Add about 2 inches of water to a pot with a steamer basket. Place fresh asparagus in basket and steam until tender, about 5-8 minutes
Place asparagus, garlic, onion, lime or lemon juice, chilies and seasonings in a food processor; pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in tomatoes. Strain mixture to remove excess moisture, if necessary.
Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Makes 6 servings based on ⅓ cup portions.
Serving suggestions-Serve with tortilla chips, toasted pita chips or cut vegetables. Try serving dip with chilled cooked shrimp. Asparagus guacamole can be made ahead of time.
Nutritional Information (Per serving):
Calories 20, Fat 0g, Sat. Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 240mg, Total Carbohydrate 4g, Fiber 2g, Sugars 1g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 20%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%
Caroline Passerrello, MS, RD, LDN
Manager of Dietitian Initiatives
Giant Eagle, Inc
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