Spring is the time of year when farms all across the country are pumping out their best produce. By knowing which foods are best in which season, you can maximize your dollars spent, while getting the best tasting produce. Take a trip to your local farmers’ market to find the best produce in your area. Most often these products are organic, but come without the added expense you’d find at a big supermarket chain.
Produce to look for in the spring:
Asparagus: Asparagus is one of the best seasonal vegetables out there. Very high in vitamin A and C, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants. Cook asparagus as soon as possible after purchasing them. 1 cup: 27 calories, 0g fat, 5g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 3g protein
Beets: Very high in heart disease and cancer fighting antioxidants. You can even eat the leafy greens at the top of the bulb. Try sauteeing or steaming them. 1 cup beets: 58 calories, 0g fat, 13g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 2g protein
Tangerines: If you are lucky to be a fellow Californian, you know how common these are. Most tangerines come from California farms, making these fruits especially cost-effective and fresh. Everyone else will have to wait for them to be shipped in. They are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and great flavor. 1 medium tangerine: 47 calories, 0g fat, 12g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 1g protein
Strawberries: Strawberries provide a multitude of health benefits. They are high in fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Given the nature of strawberries and the pesticides used on them in particular, it is always best to go organic here. Again, local farmers’ markets are typically best. 1 cup: 46 calories, 0g fat, 11g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 1g protein
Spinach: Nothing comes close to farm-fresh spinach. The canned and frozen stuff you have during the rest of the year isn’t even in the same league. Great for vitamin K, C, and A. 1 cup: 7 calories, 0g fat, 1g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 1g protein
Broccoli: Look for bunches of broccoli with firm stalks and dark green florets. Studies have indicated that a diet high in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may keep age-related declines in memory, at bay. 1 cup: 31 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 3g protein
Carrots: Keep the skins on these vegetables to enjoy all the nutrients. A majority of their beta-carotene and vitamins are found in the skin and just beneath. When you peel these, you remove a large quantity of the good stuff. 1 cup: 52 calories, 0g fat, 12g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 1g protein
Peas: Personally, I hate peas. That is, until I had fresh peas. They are nothing like the horrible canned variety. Peas are a great source of iron and vitamin B. Two nutrients that will help give you a boost and keep your metabolism high. 1 cup: 41 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 3g protein
Swiss Chard: Swiss Chard is especially tasty in the springtime. Its taste is half spinach, half beet. Very high in antioxidants and minerals, Swiss Chard should be in everyone’s home. 1 cup: 7 calories, 0g fat, 1g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 1g protein
Raspberries: One of the best sources of antioxidants you can find. The only problem is they are very sensitive and lose their nutritional value with each day they are off the vine. This is another fruit you want to find at a local farmers’ market, as they are often picked only a day before being sold. 1 cup: 64 calories, 1g fat, 15g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 1g protein
These are just some of the most popular spring-time choices. A trip to a local farmers’ market will unveil a wide range of high-quality vegetables for you to choose from. By eating fruits and vegetables that are in season, you will ensure you are getting the best quality at the lowest price possible.