Spring’s best produce

Kelly Bryant

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and — miracle of miracles! — fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies are finally gracing the produce section again. It can certainly be a challenge to eat healthy when we’re craving comfort food all winter long, but spring is an excellent time to jumpstart your weight loss with healthy, delicious in-season produce.

Fruits and vegetables are great for weight loss, because they are low in calories but take up a lot of space in your belly, making you feel more satisfied from fewer calories. It’s recommended that you get 5 servings per day, which should be no sweat with this many delicious options.

Asparagus

The fresher and more local asparagus is, the better it’s flavor. As Serious Eats puts it, “Amongst the vegetables that are available year-round from the supermarket, there are very few that show as drastic a change in flavor between the imported, year-round stuff, and the fresh-from-the-earth spring variety.” Think you don’t like asparagus? Try roasting it with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. It’s super-low-calorie at just 27 calories per cup.

Peas

While many of us might associate peas with the bland, canned variety, fresh peas (like snow peas and sugar-snap peas) can be remarkably sweet and flavorful. Eat the pod and all for fiber and lots of vitamin C. Head to Cooking Light for plenty of delicious recipes featuring peas.

Lettuce & Spinach

Lettuce is so much more than the iceberg and romaine varieties we’re used to seeing. There are dozens of options — all with different textures and flavors. Salad is the obvious way to eat spring greens and spinach, but you can do so much more with it. (P.S. Store your greens in a container with a paper towel to preserve freshness.)

Radishes

Radishes are an amazing way to add crunchy texture to tons of dishes (think: a slaw to top fish tacos, mixed into a salad, or even all on their own dipped in hummus). Super-low in calories, radishes are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

Broccoli

Broccoli, like peas, gets a bad rap, but can actually be delicious when prepared right. It’s wonderful raw — dipped into hummus or chopped up as a slaw — or roasted, stir-fried, or steamed. And it’s worth giving broccoli a second chance; it’s uber-high in vitamin C. Think your picky eaters won’t finish their broccoli? Try these kid-friendly recipes.

Strawberries

Strawberries are every foodie’s favorite sign of spring (or early summer, depending on where you are). Sure, they’re available year-round, but the in-season stuff is practically a different fruit — sweet, juicy, and flavorful. Look for berries that are completely red (no white around either end), and follow these tips to keep them fresher longer.

Citrus fruits

Oranges and lemons and grapefruits, oh my! These tangy fruits come into their own in winter and keep going strong through spring. Our two favorite ways to eat them: 1. Nosh on oranges and their relatives (like tangerines and clementines) straight up, or 2. Use the juice and zest of citrus fruits to spice up other veggies, like roasted asparagus, carrots, or broccoli.

Mango

While mangos may be the most widely consumed fruit in the world, they remain under-appreciated here in the U.S. This soft fruits offers vitamins A and C and has a sweet, mild flavor that makes it ideal for eating solo or sweetening green smoothies and salsas.

Got another spring favorite we didn’t mention? Tell us, what’s your favorite produce this time of year?