Dietitians Dish: Spring brings April showers, May flowers and fruit
By Kay Weber
March 26, 2013 at midnight
Updated March 25, 2013 at 10:26 p.m.
Spring is here, and with warmer weather upon us, flowers will not be the only beautiful sights sprouting all around from the ground.
Spring invites a new season of fresh fruits and vegetables to bloom and be harvested, offering more colorful choices to fill refrigerators and tummies.
So what exactly should you be looking for at the grocery store or area farmers markets? For starters, look for strawberries that are firm, plump and deep, rich red. Strawberries are a great source of fiber and vitamin C while also being low in calories. Always remember to wash immediately prior to serving.
Another mouth-watering, red fruit popping up this season is cherries. Cherries peak in late spring, early summer and are one of the few sources of melatonin, which may help you sleep better at night. Choose plump, brightly-colored cherries for the richest and sweetest flavor.
Follow the rainbow straight down the produce section and grab a few apricots for your cart. Apricots are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Be sure there are no breaks in the skin.
Oranges are also prime spring fruits, rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, B vitamins and magnesium. These are a great complement to a salad or bowl of cottage cheese for a filling and delicious snack.
When we think of spring, we think of fresh green grass growing around us in addition to all the flowers. While at the grocery store, look for bright green asparagus with firm, brittle spears and tightly closed tips.
This wonderful vegetable is an excellent source of iron, a variety of B vitamins and vitamin C. Peas are another excellent green source of B vitamins, zinc, protein, and fiber to add to your cart.
As you make your way down the produce section, enjoy the wide variety of melons available this spring, such as watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. These are all great sources of vitamin C and potassium.
When making your selection of these types of fruits, knock on the fruit. If you hear a low-pitched sound, this means the fruit is ripe and juicy. A delicious fruit bowl filled with a wide variety of these options is always a great party starter or dinner side dish.
These are a few options that will be peaking this spring. Whichever fruit you choose, try to consume it within two to four days of purchasing, wash before cutting or peeling and as always, the more colors on your plate, the better.
Kay Weber is a dietetic intern with DeTar Healthcare Systems. She attends Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.