Spring Superfoods to Take Advantage of When It’s Peak Season

Score fruits and veggies in their prime.

By Diana Kelly Levey
spring strawberries

While I love eating hearty roasted fall and winter veggies, there’s something about spring that makes me crave fresh greens, colorful salads, and lighter produce than I’ve been eating over the past few months. Maybe it’s the stems shooting up from the ground or new menus at my favorite restaurants promoting in-season eats that make the change so noticeable for me. Eating seasonal spring superfoods means you’re getting produce at its peak when it’s packed with minerals and vitamins.

Now is the time to shop your local farmer’s markets to see what’s cropped up (pun intended) in recent weeks, so you can add them to your regular rotation of meals and snacks. Remember, you can’t meet all of your nutrient needs from just one vegetable or fruit. When it comes to optimal health, variety is just as important as quantity, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. That’s why it’s so important to change things up each season and have fun experimenting so your taste buds and body are challenged with the variety. Here are just a few spring powerhouse foods to add to your diet and some delicious ways to add them to your meal plan and recipes.

Asparagus

These thin green “trees” are a good source of folate, which may help with some symptoms of depression, according to a 2018 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Asparagus is also a good source of fiber, making it a filling addition to your plate, or a great sidedish to grilled burgers to opt for instead of fries or chips.

How to use it: 

  • Add cooked asparagus to an egg frittata for brunch. 
  • Grill asparagus and wrap each one in bacon or prosciutto for a tasty appetizer.

Kale

One cup of raw kale contains 141 percent of the daily-recommended value of vitamin K, which helps support bone health to prevent fractures. A high amount of vitamin K intake has also been linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease, according to a 2015 study published by NCBI. What can’t kale do?

How to use it:

  • Substitute kale for basil in your favorite pesto recipe and serve with whole grain pasta or on top of chicken or fish.
  • Add a handful of kale leaves to smoothies.
  • Toss kale pieces with olive oil, spices, and herbs and bake in the oven at 275°F for about 40 minutes to make healthy “chips.”

Rhubarb

If you only heard of rhubarb in a pie, you’re missing on this veggie’s health benefits. This red-hued stalk provides nearly one-third of your daily value of manganese in one serving. Having low levels of manganese has been associated with several diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes, and possibly epilepsy (in animal studies). 

How to use it:

  •  Break out the food processor and whip up a salsa made with rhubarb, strawberries, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil, like this Paula Deen recipe suggests. 
  •  Roast rhubarb and toss it on a garden salad with nuts and cheese.

Strawberries

You’ve heard that many berries are called superfoods and strawberries are a standout fruit player in that group of “honor roll fruits.” Just one serving of strawberries per week may improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a 2011 study published by NCBI. 

How to use it: 

  • Blend strawberries into your favorite fruit smoothie.
  • Spread peanut butter on bread and top with thin sliced strawberries.
  • Add sliced strawberries to a spring salad.

Peas

These spring pods are a good source of plant protein and zinc. Researchers have suggested that both zinc and antioxidants can delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss, according to the National Eye Institute. Fresh peas are super tasty this time of year, so buy a bunch and freeze them at home.

How to use it:

  • Add them to a pasta dish with bacon, Parmesan, and olive oil.
  • Sprinkle cooked peas into your favorite Asian or Spanish rice dishes.

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Related:

5 Ingredients You Should Add to Your Smoothie

50 Superfoods You Should Be Eating 

16 New and Trendy Foods to Try

Article written by Diana Kelly Levey