Spring is almost here. The days are getting longer and we are trying to get ourselves into a good mood here in the northeast – despite the crazy snow, more predictions for snow next week, oh and did I mention more snow? And more snow? No worries. The warmer, sunny weather will come – eventually. This is a special time of year. The changing seasons mark a time for all things to come alive and experience renewal.
In nature this means abundant growth in the form of grass, flowers, and delicious colorful produce. For our bodies, it means leaving behind the heaviness of grounding foods and embracing all things light and fresh.
The human body thrives when it eats seasonally. We are meant to embrace our environment and eat the foods that grow around us. In spring those foods include a huge variety of fruit and vegetables that will make you feel nourished while also gently cleansing and resetting your digestive and immune systems.
During springtime, allow these fresh, nutritious, seasonal foods to crowd out unhealthy food & unhealthy habits.
The goal is not to stress about what you have been indulging in through winter. Don’t even try to avoid or deprive yourself during this transitional time. If you simply place your focus on increasing fresh, whole foods, the less than healthy cravings will slowly disappear.
To help you celebrate this upcoming season, I’ve put together a list of my favorite spring foods and how to use them. For those of you that are busy – these require minimal cooking or food prep.
Keep in mind that what’s in season for you will depend on where you live. It’s also possible that you may already have access to some of these foods year-round due to importing. BUT, eating the local seasonal foods will taste and smell much better. Their level of freshness and bioactive compounds will also benefit your body in a much deeper way.
Enjoy these 10 delicious spring foods
(And other leafy greens like Romaine and Red Leaf Lettuce)
Rich in vitamins like A, K, and folate, plus chlorophyll, fiber and even water, these leafy greens will help reduce inflammation while also hydrating and detoxifying your body.
How to eat it: Just toss raw greens in bowl with other veggies, nuts or seeds and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar or citrus juice. Chop or tear them into bite-sized pieces to enhance the texture of your salad.
Available in both spring and fall, artichokes are rich in folic acid, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and many minerals. These nutrients help lower cholesterol, ensure healthy pregnancies in women, reduce free radicals, and ensure optimal metabolic cell function.
How to eat them: There is an art and science to the basic way of cooking an artichoke, I like to boil it for about 20 minutes then peel off and eat the leaves (well, use my teeth to scrape the bottom edible part of the leaves) after I dip it in garlic infused extra virgin olive oil.
Even more abundant in vitamin K (which you need for blood clotting, heart and bone health, cancer prevention, and many other functions), as well as copper, selenium, B vitamins and many other important nutrients. Asparagus can improve your overall health.
How to eat it: asparagus is delicious simply sautéed with a garlic and sea salt in some butter, ghee, coconut oil, or even a little vegetable or chicken stock. Just be sure not to overcook it! Try roasting the on a baking sheet with oil for about 5 minutes. You want them to remain vibrant green and retain its shape as it softens a bit but stop cooking before it gets too wilted.
Some foods give you a clear indication of what part of you they’ll benefit and that’s the case with beets. Their deep and juicy color let you know they’re great for your blood and circulation. They can lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, and support detoxification all due to being a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains.
How to eat them: so many options! You can juice them or add them to a smoothie, roast them as a side dish, use a julienne veggie peeler to shave them into salads, spiralize them or make them into borscht!
We’re all familiar with this classic vegetable but when they’re in season locally carrots are absolutely delectable. Rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants, they’re great for maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails, and are therefore considered an “anti-aging” food, plus they’re a powerful cancer-fighter.
How to eat them: I love to eat them raw and you can play around with many different ways of chopping, slicing, or shredding them onto anything from salads to sandwiches or tacos. You can even spiralize them as an alternative to zucchini to make healthy “pasta.” They’re also the perfect travel snack and are great dipped into nut butter or hummus.
This powerful herb grows like a weed and sometimes doesn’t get enough credit for it’s powerful healing properties. Mint contains an antioxidant called rosmarinic acid, which can relieve seasonal allergy symptoms (the not-so-great side effect of spring!), the menthol it contains is a natural decongestant, and it can also soothe an upset stomach.
How to eat it: Mint is a delicate herb so it’s better not to cook it. Add to water or iced tea for refreshing natural flavoring, it also makes a great edible garnish, and can be chopped and added to fruit salads.
Peas typically have a very short growing season of just a few weeks and that makes them all the more special. They contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and K, and several B vitamins, plus manganese, phosphorus, and protein. This makes them an excellent anti-inflammatory food.
How to eat them: You can eat sugar snap peas straight out of the pod for a light snack, add them to salads, smoothies, stir-fries, noodle dishes, quinoa and basically anything! Fresh peas make a great kid snack and you can also cook and puree them into baby food.
Is there anything better than biting into a fresh, ripe, fragrant, and delicious strawberry in late spring/early summer? This decadent and sexy food is a healthy indulgence because it is among the top five sources of antioxidant-rich fruit in the U.S. Despite being a fruit and containing fructose, strawberries can actually help balance blood sugar, and the polyphenols they contain will support immunity, healthy cell renewal, and many other functions.
How to eat them: Aside from eating them raw, you can freeze them (just cut the stems off before freezing) and add them to smoothies, you can melt dark chocolate over a double-boiler to dip them into and then freeze with a chocolate coating for dessert. You can also put them on your chia pudding or oatmeal, or make a quick jam by chopping them up and simmering in a bit of water with a cinnamon stick and then adding some vanilla extract and maple syrup at the end.
Onions contain a high amount of polyphenols, and especially flavonoids, which are compounds that play a major role in disease prevention and reducing the oxidative stress that wears our bodies down when we don’t take good care of ourselves. They are also natural antihistamines, and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
How to eat them: You can add raw onions to things like salads or tacos, or simply sauté them with some sea salt as a tasty caramelized onion side dish. They also make the perfect base for your spring sauces and soups.
A great detoxifier, radishes are great at removing waste and toxins from both the stomach and liver. They are also a natural diuretic and help treat urinary and kidney conditions, not to mention fight cancer, hydrate your skin, reduce fevers, and even treat insect bites.
How to eat them: I love them sliced thin with a handheld mandolin for a raw salad, and you can also roast them, or even juice them.
Pretty much anything growing in your area is going to be beneficial, it just depends on your location and the temperature and time of year. So head over to your local farmer’s market in the weeks and months to come and enjoy all the goodness nature has to offer.
Baked Stuffed Artichokes
Click here for recipe…