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Dietitian Spotlight: 10 Healthy Foods for Spring

Elena Harrington

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Apr 14th, 2017

Blog Header Carrot Cake Smoothie

Spring has sprung, bringing warmer weather, sunshine and a variety of seasonal foods. We reached out to our registered dietitian, Annessa Chumbley, for the inside scoop on her top 10 healthy foods for spring! Annessa also filled us in on some of the key nutrients in each food, what makes her pick healthy and a few pro tips, too! Be sure to incorporate these colorful, vibrant seasonal foods into your diet this spring, and try some of our favorite recipes featuring these incredible foods.

Asparagus

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • Asparagus offers digestive support by providing prebiotics. Prebiotics can be thought of as food to nourish probiotics— the healthy bacteria that lines the gut wall. If you want to keep probiotics healthy, eat asparagus! 
  • Asparagus is also an excellent source of vitamin K and folate.
  • Since asparagus is a “living” food, it needs to be used rather quickly after purchase. I recommend using it within 48 hours. It is best stored with a damp paper towel around the ends, to retain freshness. 

Recipe Spotlight: Yoga Instructor Toast

Yoga Instructor Toast

Pineapple

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • I love to refer to pineapple as “nature’s candy,” because it comes in the perfect package— nature almost always pairs natural sugar with fiber. This helps your body receive the fuel from sugar in a slower, more consistent format, as opposed to a sugar rush. 
  • Pineapple contains bromelin, an enzyme that lowers inflammation. It breaks down protein and is good for digestion, as well.
  • It is also an excellent source of vitamin C— the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant. 
  • Pineapple has a higher sugar content at it’s base and core, so you will find the sweetest parts with more tender texture there.
  • Look for pineapples that are heavy for their size. Pineapples do not ripen further after being picked, but leaving your pineapple on the counter for 1 to 2 days before slicing will make it softer and juicier.  

Recipe Spotlight: Banana Split Blender Muffins

Banana Split Blender Muffins

Spinach

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • Spinach is my favorite superfood! It is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, B2, B6 and E, along with folate, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C. WOW!
  • Easily sneak more spinach into your diet by adding it smoothies, sautés, salads and more. Look for as many ways as possible to eat more spinach! 
  • There are only 14 calories in 2 cups of spinach, along with 2 grams of both protein and fiber.

Recipe Spotlight: Farro Power Bowl

Farro Chickpea Bowl

Avocado

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • Avocados are high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). In fact, 1/2 cup contains 7 grams of MUFAs! These healthy fats are good for cardiovascular health, help control blood sugar and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  • Use the healthy fat in avocados to help you absorb other fat-soluble vitamins. For example, vitamin A, D, E, and K need a fat to be absorbed. So by including avocado, you are increasing your nutrient intake in more ways than one! 
  • The highest concentration of beneficial plant nutrients is in the greenest part of the avocado (near the skin), so be sure to scoop that part out for optimal nutrition.
  • Avocados will ripen after being picked: simply set the avocado on the counter, and you will know it is ready to use when it yields to gentle pressure. Store avocados in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process.

Recipe Spotlight: No-Bake Shake

No Bake Shake

Lemon

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • I call lemon the “liver-helper.” It’s another food that is being studied for it’s benefit of fighting free radicals in the body. 
  • Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and help build a strong immune system. 
  • They are also a powerhouse when used to bring out the flavor of other foods— that’s why I often use lemon zest in my recipes! It’s a healthy way to brighten up any recipe. 

Recipe Spotlight: Refreshing Lemon Zest Smoothie

Refreshing Lemon Zest Smoothie

Salmon

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for and used in the brain, heart and eyes. 
  • Salmon is also a good source of an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which may help protect the spinal cord and nervous system. This antioxidant is what creates the beautiful, bright “orangish”-pink color of the salmon— so the deeper the color of the salon, the richer it is in this antioxidant! 

Recipe Spotlight: Crispy Salmon Burger

Crispy Salmon Burger

Carrots

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips: 

  • Carrots come in a variety of colors: purple, yellow, white, red and orange. Their color signifies which antioxidant they are rich in— all playing different roles in health. 
  • Orange carrots are high in beta-carotene, which helps support eye and skin health. The deeper the orange color of the carrot, the more beta-carotene it has.
  • Naturally sweet, try roasting carrots to bring out the natural sugars even more prominently. The natural sweetness also makes them an excellent snack for kids! 
  • 1 cup of carrots is only 50 calories and packs 4 grams of fiber. 

Recipe Spotlight: Carrot Cake Batter Smoothie

Carrot Cake Batter Smoothie

Beets

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • Beets are in the same family as chard, spinach and quinoa. 
  • The antioxidants in beets, called betalains, help support the body’s natural detoxification process. 
  • Use the beet greens (the tops of the beets themselves)! They are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that support eye heath. They are delicious sautéed and scattered on top of roasted beets and sweet potatoes. 
  • Use raw beets in a smoothie or shaved and topped on a salad.

Recipe Spotlight: Sweet Beet Smoothie

Sweet Beet Smoothie

Spring Onions

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips: 

  • Onions of all kinds are being shown to help protect against different types of cancer.Spring onions are a healthy way to add flavor to any meal. 
  • They are also a good source of biotin— the “hair, skin, nails vitamin” 
  • 1 cup is only 19 calories!

Recipe Spotlight: Sweet Potato Breakfast Squares

Sweet Potato Breakfast Squares

Strawberries

Annessa’s Nutrition Highlights & Tips:

  • Strawberries help fight inflammation. 
  • Use strawberries quickly after purchasing and store them with a paper towel underneath to absorb any moisture, so they stay fresher longer. 
  • Did you know that after being cleaned, the entire strawberry can be tossed in and blended into a smoothie? Green tops and all! 
  • 1 cup has just 46 calories and 3 grams of fiber. 

Recipe Spotlight: Berries & Cream Swirl

Berries and Cream Fruit Swirl

Stop by your local store to shop these healthy spring foods and create these nutritious recipes!

3 Responses to Dietitian Spotlight: 10 Healthy Foods for Spring

  1. Donna Sanders 23/04/2017 at 11:51 am

    Super information, I loved it. I am a conscience person and really care about my son’s and my health. He has a serious kidney disorder and really needs to loose weight, we both do. But for him it’s to keep from having to go to dialisis
    So his diet is NO caffein. salt, as well as low calories. These recipes seem like they will help. Thank you so much. Donna Sanders

  2. Donna Sanders 23/04/2017 at 11:52 am

    Super information, I loved it. I am a conscience person and really care about my son’s and my health. He has a serious kidney disorder and really needs to loose weight, we both do. But for him it’s to keep from having to go to dialisis
    So his diet is NO caffein. salt, as well as low calories. These recipes seem like they will help. Thank you so much.

  3. Donna Sanders 23/04/2017 at 11:52 am

    Super information, I loved it. I am a conscience person and really care about my son’s and my health.

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