Spring is a great time to take advantage of delicious and healthy in-season produce. Although you can find most varieties of produce in stores year-round, when you select seasonal produce, you’ll get vegetables at the peak of freshness and usually at a good price.
Add a punch of color, flavor and nutrition to your diet by incorporating these five vegetables into your spring meal planning:
Asparagus – Delicious grilled, roasted or steamed, these tender vegetables epitomize “spring.” Their vibrant green color and delicate stalks add a boost of color and flavor alongside fish, poultry or beef. They provide lots of iron, vitamins B and C, folate and fiber.
Artichokes – The peak season for artichokes is March through May. You can braise, grill or bake artichokes for a tasty treat or incorporate them in dips, salads, soup or pasta. At just 25 calories per heart (the bottom part of the artichoke), you’ll get a good source of iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and magnesium. Artichokes are ranked #7 on the USDA’s list of foods with the most disease-fighting antioxidants.
Radishes – Want to add some vibrant color and a peppery flavor to your salad for almost no calories? Slice up some red radishes. One cup adds up to less than 25 calories but will supply about 30% of your daily vitamin C. They are also high in glucosinolates, compounds that may help protect cells from mutations that cause cancer. In addition to salads, you can add this root vegetable to sandwiches or eat them whole as a snack.
Peas – Now is the perfect time to enjoy a variety of peas at the peak of freshness, including green peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas. Although different pea varieties will have slightly different nutritional profiles, the one thing they share is that they are high in fiber and protein and low in fat. Toss into all types of cooked dishes or steam as a side dish.
Fennel – This licorice-flavored vegetable contains high amounts of potassium, which can help keep your blood pressure in check. The significant amount of fiber fennel contains, as well as folate and vitamins, also supports heart health.