One of my favorite images to create for children when introducing vegetables is of broccoli sweeping the digestive track like a little broom. When it comes to the role fruits and vegetables play in meals coming off a season of heavier, comfort foods, it’s helpful to stick with this vision.
Components of fruits and vegetables such as vitamins, minerals, water and digestible, as well as indigestible, starches in the form of fiber care for your body from the inside out. Whether it is the vitamin C found in your naval orange that counteracts negatively charged free radicals throughout the body, zinc in your chickpeas that builds a strong immune system, water in your romaine lettuce that brings nutrients to cells via blood while carting away waste in the lymphatic system, soluble fiber in your lentils that soaks up excess cholesterol circulating in the blood or insoluble fiber in your cauliflower that assists transient time of the bowel, fruits and vegetables are the superheroes of your body for cleaning and maintaining it in tip top shape.
Just as you do at home, take the opportunity in the weeks ahead to spring clean your meals and body. Build meals rich in a variety of spring season fruits and vegetables with the help of the Seasonal Produce Guide from the United States Department of Agriculture below. Which are your favorites?
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
For a simple, and tasty, way to incorporate more vegetables into your meals, cook up the Garlicky Lentil Ragu recipe below from the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers at Lentils.org. This delicious dish incorporates plenty of seasonal ingredients such as celery, carrots, onions and garlic in addition to dried and canned options like lentils and plum tomatoes. And, it just happens to be a favorite for our dietitian team here at Big Y Foods— enjoy!
Carrie is the lead registered dietitian nutritionist for the Living Well Eating Smart program at Big Y Foods and a registered yoga teacher. Have a nutrition question? E-mail [email protected] or write Living Well at 2145 Roosevelt Ave, PO Box 7840, Springfield, MA 01102.