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Lifestyles

Get inspired and revel in spring produce

Posted April 5

Spring has sprung, and fresh, in-season produce can add a punch of flavor and nutrients to your plate. To keep things simple, try cutting up fresh fruit or veggies and make a platter of them for snacks or meals or eat them with a low-sugar yogurt or in a green salad.

Read on for more options to inspire your eating:

Mangoes — If you’re not going anywhere tropical for spring break, in-season mangoes can transport you for the afternoon. My favorite variety are yellow-skinned ataulfo. Be sure to feel them before buying, the flesh should be soft and give with pressure, not mushy nor hard. Try a mango lassi smoothie, homemade creamy mango pops, a black bean mango salsa, black rice side with mango and peanuts, or a chia pudding.

Oranges — Moro, Cara Cara, Clementines and naval oranges galore line supermarket shelves this spring. Inherently portable and brimming with juicy goodness, oranges are delightful and convenient. Use a fancy peeler to get easy access to eat slices raw or try a lightened up orange chicken in an avocado dressing, or a whole wheat orange cranberry bread.

Snow peas — They’re great fresh or dipped in a yogurt dip, humus or favorite dressing. I personally enjoy them in spring vegetable stir-frys or this honey sesame chicken crockpot version.

Strawberries — If anything can clear away the winter doldrums it’s fresh, juicy, tasty strawberries in the spring. Eat them plain, dipped in chocolate or topped on a smoothie bowl. My family enjoys whole grain crepes with vanilla yogurt, strawberries and a dash of cinnamon. For a healthy treat, try easy two-ingredient strawberry banana ice cream.

Pineapple — Pineapple can be delicious grilled to be eaten as a side or on a grilled hamburger or chicken sandwich. Try pineapples in a stir-fry, fried rice or chunked on a kabob with fruit or grilled meats and veggies.

Green beans — One full-flavor, easy way to enjoy green beans is to oven-roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese. They’re also delicious, fresh and bright in a lemon feta side, and good in a lightened up casserole or easy one-skillet chicken, bacon, green bean entree. Add fresh or frozen varieties to your favorite shepherd's pie or hearty chicken pot pie. I really enjoy green beans in soups like this chicken pot pie soup or a veggie-rich minestrone soup.

We could all use a little variety to fortify our health and our satisfaction in food. Try something new, or an old favorite this week.

What is your favorite way to eat spring produce?

Erica Hansen, a dietitian-nutritionist, advocates getting back to the basics in the kitchen with real food for real life is the first step to improving vitality and longevity. Find her online at realfoodfixes.com or @realfoodfixes on Instagram/Facebo

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