Spring Cleaning: Good for Your Diet Too

Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas to keep your meals exciting or if you need to “spring clean” your eating habits, a change in seasons is just the time to do it. With fresh, almost-summer produce hitting grocery store shelves, now’s the time to switch things up. Below is a spring grocery list guide for what to buy this season.

Artichokes: Although you may be more familiar with the canned or frozen “hearts”, these veggies are best eaten fresh so you can take advantage of their phytochemicals (a.k.a. cancer stopping nutrients) and B vitamins like folate (good for heart health).

How to Prepare It:

Trim the top half of the artichoke with the stem and throw into a steamer basket (stem side up). Cover the pot and steam for about 25-35 minutes or until the leaves are tender and pull off easily. Take a leaf, dip it in some lemon dip* and bite the leaf scraping out the meaty flesh and discarding the rest.

How to Use it in a RecipeLemon Dip:

½ cup non-fat or Greek yogurt + juice of 1 lemon + fresh herbs of choice (we like dill and parsley), drizzle with fresh extra virgin olive oil.

Beets: This root vegetable comes alive in the spring time and can make for a tasty and eye-catching pink treat. The best way to eat beets is by roasting or baking them. Don’t cook beets in water since they contain B vitamins (like folate) that might dissolve into the water when cooking.

How to Prepare It:

Throw them in the oven (washed, peeled, and diced) at 425 °F for about 10-15 minutes. Add to your favorite salad or make a tangy pink hummus*!

How to Use it in a Recipe – Hummus*:

In a high speed blender or food processor, combine ½ cup roasted beets, 1 can rinsed chickpeas, 1 small garlic clove , 2 tbsp fresh olive oil + 2 tbsp tahini + juice of 1-2 lemons. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Peas: This spring garden staple is a good source of plant protein and iron. Peas also contain nutrients like lutein and lysine, which help prevent colon cancer and help collagen synthesis. Because peas contain mostly water-soluble vitamins (like vitamin C and B vitamins: folate & B6).

How to Prepare It:

They’re best prepped by quick steaming or microwaving. For a quick and tasty twist on guacamole, make your own spring guac* by adding smashed peas to the mix.

How to Use it in a Recipe Spring Guacamole:

Combine 1-2 ripe avocados, ½ cup steamed peas (cooled and mashed), juice of 1-2 lemons + handful of parsley or cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Asparagus: Full of fiber, vitamin B6, and folate, this crunchy stem is packed with nutrients. It also has glutathione and rutin which are powerful antioxidants that detoxify cancer-causing substances and can help improve blood vessel health. Swap them in place of fries for a healthier, salty crunch or steam them and toss them in a fresh spring pasta.

How to Prepare It:

Trim the ends of the spears (not the tips) and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle or spray with olive oil then add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350-375 °F for about 20 minutes or until crispy. Try them as a snack or serve as a side to your favorite meal.

How to Use it in a Recipe – Lemon Spring Pasta*:

Boil pasta of choice as directed. About 1-2 minutes before it’s done cooking, throw in trimmed and diced asparagus into the pot. Drain the pasta with the asparagus and dress with fresh lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2-3 tbsp fresh olive oil and fresh parsley, and a handful of spinach. Combine all ingredients and stir on low heat until cooked through or until spinach has wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you’d like to know more about Lindsey Gass, RD click here to view her bio on the Youfit blog, or follow her on Instagram for more good eats.

Lindsey Gass

Lindsey Gass, RD, LD/N is a registered dietitian in Miami, FL. With a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, Lindsey has years of experience in clinical, sports, long term care, and community nutrition. Lindsey currently works in critical care at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she provides nutrition support and participates in trauma research. Outside of her career, Lindsey is an avid runner and Nike run club pacer working towards qualifying for a Boston marathon. Follow Lindsey on Instagram at @lin.health for nutrition tips and tricks. Learn more about Youfit’s Registered Dietician