How To...Reap Spring's Food Benefits
Intoxicatingly fresh air, green grass, blooming flowers and welcoming sunshine — spring is here. One of the best parts of this season is the freshest of fruits and vegetables it brings to our diets — but wait, what are those again? Living in cities and suburbs, where an array of fruits and vegetables are available to us year-round, makes us oblivious to seasonality. Eating seasonally and freshly is not only healthy, it’s what our bodies were created to do. Here are a few steps and tips to take with you on your next grocery run.
Step 1: Get your citrus on
Yes, while lemons and grapefruits are always available, it may come as a surprise they are juiciest and most delicious in spring. If you’re on the West Coast, it’s already a time to start making lemonade. If you’re in a colder climate it’s the perfect excuse to incorporate lemons into your traditional family recipes. If you sense viruses are still floating around your office, drink a glass of fresh grapefruit juice every morning. The vitamin C boost will strengthen your immune system to keep you healthy well into spring.
Step 2: The greenest time of year
March is the best time of year to celebrate green — especially in our diets. Luckily, the beginning of spring marks when the tastiest and most versatile greens are in season. Vegetables that are ready this time of year include asparagus, green onions, spinach, wild greens and lettuce. These vegetables call for more salad and side dishes at dinnertime and in our lunchbox.
Step 3: Embrace the herbs
Spring gives us two of the most tasty herbs: mint and parsley. Add a few leaves of mint to your water, lemonade and desserts this season. If you’re looking to add distinct flavor to your homemade cuisine, trying baking and cooking with olive oil and parsley — two magic ingredients in the simplest and tastiest dishes.
Step 4: Sweeten naturally
Maple syrup reaches its peak sweetness and flavor in spring, giving you one more reason to ditch artificial sweeteners and white sugar. The Canadian staple isn’t only for waffles and pancakes. I couldn’t go a morning without adding maple syrup to my oatmeal or bake my fiance's favorite cookies without substituting sugar for syrup. Make life sweeter without sacrificing health.
Step 5: Apricot and strawberries
These two vegetables are all I crave during spring, and lucky for me they make either a mean fruit salad or a perfect garnish to spruce up a traditional one. Have more of a sweet tooth? You can also cook them to a heavenly jam for morning crepes or bake them in a delicious tart for a romantic dinner. Spring's benefits are truly boundless.
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