Spring Cleaning: Not just for your home... try it on your diet!
After a “long winter’s rest”, it’s time to emerge from our homes, open up the windows, roll up our sleeves and …CLEAN! We often focus just on our living quarters during this tried & true spring tradition, but along with all those cluttered closets and cob-webbed corners, ‘tis the perfect season to “spring clean” your diet. Since the old adage “You are what you eat”, happens to be truer than not…what better place to start the purge, than the kitchen pantry and refrigerator; so out with the heavy fall and winter fare and in with springtime fruits and veggies. In-season produce reaps the most nutritional value so here are some suggestions to look for on the produce aisle or at the local farmer’s market.
Strawberries- These juicy berries are nutritional jewels offering almost 4 grams of fiber and most of your daily recommended Vitamin C in a one cup serving. Their peak season is April to June, so for the best flavor, buy berries grown locally, they are likely to be fresher and suffer less damage in transit. If possible, buy organic because these berries usually make the list of dirty dozen foods, because fungus prompts farmers to spray, and pesticide residue holds fast to their pitted skins. They are a sweet addition to salads, dressings, and smoothies; they “take the cake” without increasing your waistline.
Asparagus- Dubbed the “food of kings” by Louis XIV of France, asparagus definitely has a royal nutritional profile. Low in fat and high in fiber, these stalks are a good source of iron, B-vitamins, folate, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C, to name a few. Asparagus is a great detoxification vegetable, it is anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, and it has anti-inflammatory and diuretic qualities to boot. You will find it in-season locally between March and June. It is delicious roasted, grilled, or lightly sautéed in olive oil or coconut oil. If you can get the tender new stalks, they’re delicious to munch on raw in a salad.
Morel Mushrooms- Cone-shaped with a spongy texture and woodsy fragrance, they are a springtime delicacy making an entrance in fine restaurants and farmer’s markets in early spring through late June. A member of the truffle family, these wild mushrooms are best known for their honeycomb texture and nutty flavor. They are low in calories and contain a pretty healthy sprinkling of micronutrients, including vitamin D, B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. They are great in sauces or sautéed in butter with a little whole-grain meal coating, or barbecued or baked with a variety of creative fillings.
Rhubarb- It appears like giant red celery with big leafy greens and is harvested April through July. Although technically a vegetable, it is often used as a fruit cooked and used in desserts but can also be eaten raw. Rhubarb offers many health benefits so it is a great addition to your spring nutrition plan. It is a powerful antioxidant, a great source of vitamin C, calcium, lutein and vitamin K. Rhubarb stalks (the only edible part of the plant) are very tart but when sweetened, give rich flavor and texture to sauces and pies. It can also be blanched and diced and added to salsas and salads.
Hopefully, as you eliminate the stuff you no longer use from your life and “spiffy” up your abode, you will make time to invite some of these fresh springtime favorites into your kitchen for a healthy celebratory meal.
Meet kim Landry-Ayres
I’m Kim Landry-Ayres, a fitness professional with advanced education in nutrition and exercise, and the founder of Mission Accomplished Studio of Eau Claire, WI.
With nearly three decades of experience in my profession, my mission is to cut through the noise in the health and fitness industry and empower people to create sustainable solutions for lasting health, happiness, and confidence.
My vision is a world where daily acts of self-love and care are a regular part of life. And my philosophy is to work with individuals to achieve their highest potential of holistic health and fitness goals.