Spring Forward with a Season of Good Things to Eat
We consistently hear that we need to eat this, eat that, and avoid those. The freewheeling nutrition advice coming at folks from all angles is confusing and creates some of the most consistent questions I get from clients—“What am I supposed to do?” I agree it can be challenging but what I try to do is encourage clients to dig deeper, delving into the pros and cons of why. In this post during National Nutrition Month I want to encourage you to choose the foods that aid you in putting your best fork forward! Make sure the foods on the plate come with a bonus, are nutrient dense packing the most nutrients into every bite.
Nutrient dense food are the foods that have a maximum amount of nutrients, but are relatively low in calories. As you know my mantra is to include a variety of foods in your diet. Some of my top recommendations from the spring season include asparagus, mango and strawberries.
It is peak season for asparagus. They are available in green, white and purple. The green and white asparagus are the same–the color difference is based on preventing exposure to sunlight by growing the spears underground. The purple is a different variety with a slightly higher sugar content. Asparagus is high in folate, one of the B-vitamins which aids in the production of new cells. Folate is important during pregnancy and adolescence. This vegetable is high in antioxidants; it is a good source of potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin C and K, high in fiber and is low in calories. The nutrient content is similar for the green and white vegetable. Purple asparagus however is slightly higher in vitamin C and protein, yet lower in fiber. Six stalks of cooked asparagus add up to approximately 1/2 cup and about 20 calories.
Mangos are growing in popularity and this oval shaped tropical fruit is a good source of soluble fiber, contains vitamin A, and C. It contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, a small amount of protein and is low in calories. One cup of mango contains about 100 calories. There are more than 150 mango varieties and for best eating, they should be purchased ripe. If you purchase ones that have not ripened, you may place them in a paper bag until they soften and are more fragrant.
Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits; though they are available throughout the year, spring is their peak season. They contain 160% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C! In addition to Vitamin C, these berries contain potassium, folate, fiber and antioxidants and very few calories. Eight medium strawberries contain about 50 calories.
Add these three foods to your weekly menu to enjoy them at optimum flavor during the peak season. Individually they are good—imagine the bounty of nutrients in a bowl of assorted salad greens, crisp-tender asparagus, mango chunks and strawberry halves. This produce trio will boost your nutrient intake while helping you put your best fork forward with foods that are good to eat and good for you too!
Take Away: Add nutrient-dense foods in season to your menu. You’ll enjoy their rich flavors along with a bushel of nutrients.