Lose Weight With 5 Spring Produce Picks
Fresh, seasonal produce is a del Adidas Shoes icious way for you to go “green” and can help you lose weight.
In my opinion, buying fresh, local produce is the most delicious way possible to jump on the “go green” bandwagon. As an added incentive, because it doesn’t travel as far to its final destination, locally harvested produce is typically subject to less nutrient degradation than non local fruits and vegetables purchased at the grocery store. That means local produce is richer in vitamins and other beneficial phytonutrients that break down when exposed to air and light.
Last weekend, I kicked off my Saturday with a visit to the local farmer’s market. It was my first trip of the season, and I felt like a kid in a candy store, hopping from booth to booth. Arms loaded with bags of spring delicacies, I headed home, itching to get in the kitchen and start cooking up a storm. For dinner that night, I made a delicious pasta loaded with seasonal veggies (ramps, asparagus, peas, and tarragon) and tossed with part skim ricotta cheese and grated lemon zest to make a simple, creamy sauce. After spending the whole afternoon outdoors with the kids enjoying the beautiful spring weather, our meal was the perfect finish to a perfect day.
ASPARAGUS: Young, tender spears of asparagus are the epitome of spring. Asparagus offers up nutrients galore including vitamins K and C and folate. Plus, it has a fairly mild flavor, so I find that it’s pretty well accepted among kids. My favorite prep method for this seasonal favorite is no more complicated than a quick roast in the Adidas Shoes ove Adidas Shoes n. I toss the trimmed spears with a dash of olive oil, a light sprinkling of salt, and plenty of black pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Sometimes I finish my asparagus with a drizzle of good, sweet balsamic vinegar.
To keep your stalks firm and fresh until you cook them, stand bunches of asparagus in a bowl or mug with the root ends submerged in about an inch of water, and store in the fridge.
RADISHES: Sadly, radishes are one of the most underutilized veggies. They’re not as nutrient dense as other produce items, but like all non starchy vegetables, radishes have a high water and fiber content and a low calorie count, meaning they’re especially helpful for people looking to lose weight. I like adding them to tossed salads they have a pungent, peppery bite that really wakes up a lackluster pile of leafy greens. Sliced radishes are also a refreshing addition to cabbage slaws or a whole grain pita pocket filled with hummus and other raw veggies.
RAMPS: Ramps are wild leeks, an Adidas Shoes d they are all the rage at farmer’s markets these days. Each plant consists of a small, white bulb with a strong onion flavor, topped off by a stalk of broad, green leaves that, once cooked, taste like a garlicky version of spinach. Both parts are edible, but the bulbs take longer to cook than the leaves, so I like to prepare them in a simple, two step process. I saut the bulbs in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes until tender (this will also soften their oniony flavor). Then I cut the leaves in half or thirds crosswise and add them to the pan. Saut the leaves just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Ramp season only lasts for about 6 to 8 weeks and it’s already in full swing, so you’ll want to hurry to the market to pick some up before they disappear again until next spring.
NEW POTATOES: New or “early” potatoes are not a specific variety in the potato family. They’re simply baby potatoes that are harvested in spring or early summer, before they mature into large, traditional potatoes and you can find them in any varietal and color, from white to red to purple. Because they’re young, new potatoes have a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled away (leaving more nutrients for you to eat). Roast them off (whole or halved) with garlic and seasonings, or boil them until just tender and combine with other veggies and vinaigrette dressing to make a healthy potato salad.
Potatoes are white and starchy, but they don’t at all deserve to be lumped in with white pasta, bread, and crackers as nutritionally deplete outcasts. All potatoes are loaded with potassium, and they also offer up a healthy dose of vitamin C, fiber, and a range of B vitamins.
STRAWBERRIES: Those of you who live in New England still have to wait another month or so until strawberries come into peak season, but warmer parts of the country are already enjoying ripe, local berries. There’s not much you can do to improve upon the sweet, juicy taste of fresh strawberries, so I usually enjoy them straight from the carton (washed first, of course). My family also loves them blended into smoothies, layered with nonfat yogurt and whole grain cereal for a breakfast parfait, or spiked with lemon zest and served atop a bowl of frozen yogurt.