Fresh produce

Fresh produce

As warmer weather brings a new crop of fresh produce, it's the perfect time to spring clean your diet. In-season produce can help you eat fresh, save money and promote a diet that will leave you feeling more energetic and healthy.


Which produce has the most nutritional value for your buck? CBC Live Right Now asked nutrition consultant Shannon Crocker for her top five picks from the warmer weather selections.


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Asparagus

"Often overlooked as a nutritious choice, I like it because it is chockfull of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and antioxidants," says Crocker. High in fibre and low in fat, asparagus also contains phytochemicals, associated with reducing inflammation - and inulin, which helps promote healthy bacteria in your intestines.


Serving suggestion: Lightly steam or sautée just until tender-crisp to retain nutrients.


 
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Rhubarb

Rhubarb stalks (the edible part of the plant) provide calcium, vitamin C and lots of potassium.


"Since it is quite tart, people often add lots of sugar, but that bumps up the calories; instead, try sweetening naturally with other fresh fruit such as strawberries," suggests Crocker.


Serving suggestion: Stew, add to baked goods or enjoy in a chutney with roasted turkey.


 
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Strawberries

At their peak from April until June, these berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre.


"Local berries can sometimes be a bit more expensive; try pick-your-own farms for reduced cost," says Crocker.


Serving suggestion: Great on their own as a snack; top a spring salad; add to smoothies, or roast to make a naturally sweet dessert.


 
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Spinach

The peak season for fresh spinach begins in March through May and September through October. This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, fibre and potassium.


"Since it's low in calories you can enjoy a large helping of spinach for few calories and the fibre helps you feel satisfied," says Crocker.


Serving suggestion: Spinach salad with fresh strawberries is a favourite - a fantastic flavour combination!


 
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Swiss chard

Like other greens, Swiss chard is packed with nutrients: high in fibre, folate, vitamin A, potassium and a good source of iron. Chard also contains phytochemicals, associated with anti-inflammatory properties. It is at its peak from June through August.


Serving suggestion: Try it sautéed with fresh garlic.





What fresh produce are you looking forward to? Post your comments below.


Spring forward


Fresh produce

Spring clean your diet

Spring clean your kitchen



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