The end of March and the beginning of April are a welcome turn of the calendar. As the ground thaws and the soil warms, visions of cantaloupe, strawberries and peapods dance in our heads. April showers not only bring May flowers, they also bring us more choices in the produce aisle.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we eat between 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables every day (for a 2,000 calorie diet). They’re almost all low in fat and calories, full of fiber and a key ingredient in a healthful eating plan. Research continues to show the role fruits and vegetables play in disease prevention, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Get ready to fill your plate with all the fruits and vegetables spring and summer seasons have to offer: berries, grapes, fresh greens and tender onions; blushing beets, mouth-watering melons, fabulous fennel and incomparable tomatoes.
Puree berries for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled fish or poultry, pancakes or waffles.
Grill or sauté spring onions and serve them on sandwiches, salads or in pasta dishes. The phytonutrients that make onions so flavorful and so healthful may also help to lower LDL — (bad) cholesterol.
Dip vegetables in fresh salsa made with lycopene-loaded tomatoes. Add mangoes and honeydew melon. Both contain zeaxanthin, which helps keeps your eyes healthy.
Add folate-rich beets to your green salad.
Grill fennel and serve it as a side dish. You’ll benefit from the potassium, calcium and phosphorus fennel brings to the table.
Treat yourself to heaping helpings of all the produce that is in season. Enjoying the great taste of good food doesn’t get any easier and it doesn’t get any better than spring and summer.
Unless of course, you are having April snow.