For every season, a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables become available. Spring has arrived, as well as a new crop of fresh produce. Found below are a few of spring’s bountiful fruits and vegetables, their nutritional values and a couple tips to incorporate them into your diet.
From April through July, peas will be at peak season. Peas are low in fat, high in fiber and a good source of zinc. A one-cup serving contains an impressive 8 grams of plant protein and 115 calories. Toss peas in fresh pasta, a salad or dip pea pods in hummus for a mid-day snack.
Strawberries peak from April until June. A one-cup serving provides about 55 calories, 3.5 grams of fiber and 100% of the daily value of vitamin C. Slice fresh strawberries and add to your oatmeal, dry cereal or yogurt. Freeze strawberries and blend together with a banana and milk to make a refreshing smoothie.
If you’re looking for a treat, then you may find morel mushrooms from April through June at your local farmer’s markets. Morels contain only 20 calories per one-cup serving, as well as being an antioxidant-rich vegetable that is a source of iron and vitamin D. Toss morels in pasta, saute with chicken or fold into an omelet.
Asparagus peaks from March until June. A one-cup serving contains 25 calories, 3 grams of fiber and is a good source of B vitamins and iron. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and grill for a crowd-pleasing side dish.
May to August is the peak season for apricots. Rich in potassium and beta-carotene, apricots are fantastic made into jam, eaten fresh or warmed up and served over low-fat vanilla bean ice cream. A one-cup serving contains 80 calories, 3.5 grams of fiber and is low in fat and sodium.
Julie Holbrook MS, RD, LDN
Dietitian, Cardiopulmonary Rehab
Centegra Health System