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Refresh Your Diet This Spring

Boy, has this long, cold, snowy winter taken a toll on me—and seeing reports about what the weather’s been like around the rest of the country, I’m guessing I’m not alone. I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted.

Even the way I eat is being impacted by this harsh season. Sure, I’m full of tips and ideas to eat well all year long, but between icy roads, winter viruses, and my tendency to hibernate when the frigid temps hit, even this nutritionist’s best intentions are up against many challenges.

Which is why I’m just so excited for spring. Yes, I’m craving the feeling of sun and warmth. But I’m also jonesing for the ease of springtime; being able to leave home without bundling up, seeing local, in-season produce pop up at the farmer’s market and near-effortlessly turning it into a simple yet delicious dinner. As springtime produce comes into season, it practically begs to be eaten…and this year, it will carry an extra bit of pleasure knowing that we earned every pea, every asparagus spear, every strawberry spring has to offer.

Now, it’s not that I only enjoy these foods when they’re in season. Frozen peas and strawberries are wintertime staples in my kitchen. But focusing on fruits and vegetables when they’re in season locally is a delicious and good-for-you habit to get into. Not only does fresh-off-the-farm produce tend to be even more loaded with nutrients than fruits and veggies that have traveled from a distance and sat on a shelf for days; but eating foods as they come into season ensures you’ll get a variety of nutrients. And eating a wide range of foods means you benefit from the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If eating the same 2-3 veggies over and over again is like a lovely flute solo, varying your diet over the course of the year is like a symphony orchestra—beautiful too, yet far more powerful.  

Here are just a few of the fruits and veggies I’m most looking forward to this spring, and how I’ll turn them into a meal, side or snack. I’m feeling a bit warmer just thinking about them.  

Asparagus: Roasted in olive oil and served with polenta and a poached egg.

Peas: Mixed into an Asian-style stir-fried rice with chopped carrots, tofu, and cashews.

Strawberries: With plain yogurt and granola.

Spinach: Sauteed with garlic and olive oil, topped with raisins, pine nuts, and orange zest.

Leeks: Sauteed and baked into an egg frittata.

What are you most looking forward to doing with the springtime produce in your neck of the woods?
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