On Nutrition


The Spring Grocery List

It’s Spring! The grass is growing, flowers are blooming, and fresh fruits and vegetables are finally making their way back onto shelves. After a long winter, seasonal, local produce is a welcome change to our taste buds. Instead of being plucked half-ripened and shipped across the country, seasonal produce spends longer on the vine or tree and can be harvested when it’s ready, giving it a boost in both flavor and nutrition (and it may even be easier on your wallet too). Here are our top picks for your grocery list!

ARTICHOKES: In season from March to May, these edible porcupines are filled with nutrition. Not only are they number seven on the USDA’s top antioxidant-rich foods list, they’re also filled with vitamins folate, C and K, and fiber. To prepare, clip off the sharp ends, boil or steam, and peel the leaves off one by one.

ASPARAGUS: While largely available all year, you can support your local farmers by buying them through June. These crunchy little spears are filled with antioxidants that have been shown to help protect against some cancers. For the best taste and nutrition, try roasting, grilling or stir-frying, all of which help to preserve vitamins.

LEAFY GREENS: Per Grow NYC, beet greens, lettuce, mesclun, spinach, and turnip greens are all available beginning in spring. Dark leafy greens are good sources of many vitamins (A, C, K and folate) and minerals (iron and calcium). They're also great sources of fiber, and an easy way to get your five veggies a day. Mix up a salad, sauté up a side, or add some crunch to your sandwich.

RHUBARB: These brightly colored stems get their hue from powerful antioxidants that promote a healthy heart, eyes and immune system, as well as help prevent cancer. Rhubarb is typically served with a hearty dose of sugar due to its tart flavor. For a more healthy addition to your diet, try adding it to your oatmeal, mixed in your fruit cup, or as a chutney or sauce on a meaty dish.

SCALLIONS: Add flavor to your plate with the addition of these spring onions. Not only are they filled with vitamins A and K, antioxidants, and fiber, they are also super easy to grow. Snip some off the top and garnish your next meal.

STRAWBERRIES: Available in late spring, just one cup of strawberries is a sweet way to get over a whole daily serving of vitamin C. Strawberries have been linked to boosting immunity, lowering the risk of cancer, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving cognitive function. With a resume like that, how can you resist? From smoothies to salads to desserts, strawberries are an easy addition to your diet.

Megan Casper, M.S., RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a private practice in the Rockaways and a writer for www.nourishedbite.com.