Hey Angels and Alphas,
The importance of eating fresh produce is something the nutrition community will never stay quiet about. It’s often suggested and even backed by mainstream health authorities that veggies and fruits should take up about 50 percent of our plate, with protein, dairy, and grains accounting for the other 50. That’s a worthwhile goal and one that can be made easier when equipped with ideas that keep the meals interesting. Fortunately, there are many opportunities we can use to infuse our diets with seasonal fruits and vegetables, from hearty salads to cooked sides and plant-focused choices.
During this spring, certain fruits and vegetables hit their peak in both freshness and flavor, so for the next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, make sure you fill our grocery bag with these 7 items recommended by nutrition and dietary experts.
Fresh pineapples have the most sweet, tart taste that can improve many meals, from heavier smoothies and salads to kebabs. This sweet and tasty fruit is full of vitamin C, manganese, copper, B vitamins, and more.
Ripe pineapples will usually have a sweet, tropical aroma near the stem. You should always look for fruit that is firm but gives a little in your hands when you squeeze it.
Nutrition: 1 cup raw pineapple has 80 calories and 21 grams of carbs.
This seasonal favorite is full of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. It is a very versatile fruit is great added to cereal, oatmeal and salads, and you can even use it either fresh or frozen in smoothies.
Remember to choose strawberries with bright red flesh and bright green tops. Because if you notice any white spots, that’s usually an indication that the fruit was picked before it was ripe.
Nutrition: 1 cup of fresh strawberries has 50 calories, 12 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.
This crunchy vegetable is accessible, inexpensive, and let’s not forget, loaded with nutrients. This includes beta carotene, fiber and potassium. Orange carrots are amazing, but you can also find yellowish, purple and even white varieties. Roast your carrots in the oven, add them to your soups, stews and salads, or just eat them raw with hummus or your favorite veggie dip. As a note to remember, fresh carrots should be plump and firm, with a light orange color and no visible cracking.
Nutrition: 1 cup of raw carrots has 49 calories, 10 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.
Lemons contain vitamin C and soluble fiber, and their tart citrus taste adds freshness and depth of flavor to everything it touches. Don’t believe us? Squeeze fresh lemon on fish and pasta or add some directly to your water.
Always select lemons that are firm, smooth and unblemished. Lemons that show tinges of green are most likely underripe.
Nutrition: 1 medium-size fresh lemon has 20 calories and 5 grams of carbs.
This absolute staple contains potassium, vitamin B6, folate and fiber. Add a banana to your next smoothie, or slice one and add oatmeal, cereal and peanut butter toast.
Choose bananas by how smooth they are and how brightly colored their skin is. Make sure they have no visible bruising. If you want to eat them quickly, pick one that’s yellow. If you don’t plan to eat it for several days, opt for one that’s still green.
Nutrition: 1 medium-sized banana has 103 calories, 24 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.
Yes, rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but it’s used more often like a fruit, hence its placement here. Rhubarb contains dietary nitrates, anthocyanins and fiber, and not to mention, its tart taste will complement the sweetness of pineapple and berries.
Pick out fresh rhubarb stalks that are crisp and firm. Skip anything that seems too woody or wilted. Remember, the leaves are usually toxic, so be sure those are removed before you cook.
Nutrition: 1 cup of raw rhubarb has 24 calories, 4 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.
Peas can be fresh, canned or frozen, and they can provide a sweet kick to dishes, along with plenty of magnesium, potassium and polyphenols. Not to mention, a surprising dose of protein.
Frozen peas are packed right after they’re picked, so don’t hesitate to stash a couple of ready-to-go bags in your freezer. But if you want fresh peas, buy them in their natural pods, checking to ensure they’re still firm, crisp and green.
Nutrition: 1 cup of fresh peas has 120 calories, 21 grams of carbs and 7 grams of protein.