For those with a packed schedule, cooking and grocery shopping can be something that easily falls by the wayside. Meal prep is one way to make sure you're putting wholesome things in your body, but another way to make this resolution a bit easier is by knowing exactly what to shop for. It's common to get overwhelmed with options when you're at the store or market, particularly when food knowledge isn't your forte. That said, knowing about seasonal produce will help you find fresher and better-tasting options — and by shopping some healthy spring fruits and vegetables, you can score some serious benefits.
Adopting better eating habits is a surefire way to increase your wellness, and noshing on certain fruits and veggies can help boost your immune system, keep your digestive system on track, and even give your skin a glow from within (not to mention help balance your hormones, strengthen your bones, the list goes on). And according to Los Angeles based clinical nutritionist Alyson Roux, this season presents a ton of opportunities to try things that are as tasty as they are beneficial.
"Spring seasonal produce is an excellent opportunity to explore new flavors and textures to expand and diversify what you eat; a diverse diet is often a nutritionally adequate one, and being curious about seasonal foods can bring joy, creativity, and color to your plate," says Roux, who specializes in helping people develop a healthy relationship with food through intuitive eating, breaking up with diet culture, and body positivity as well as informing her clients about what foods will make them feel like their strongest, healthiest, and best self.
If you're looking to stock up on the crème de la crème season, see ahead for the best of spring's bounty, as recommended by Roux, as well as why they're good for you and some tips for delicious and simple preparations to try ASAP.
While you might typically associate stone fruits like apricots as something you snack on later in summer, you can actually find them as early as April in some areas. Not only are they a great naturally sweet treat, these fruits also pack some serious health benefits, too. "[Apricots] are high in fiber, vitamin C, and phytonutrients," Roux says. "They are delicious on their own or I like to slice and bake them with chicken or tofu with seasonal fresh herbs and garlic."
You might have already tried these bitter-flavored leaves mixed into your go-to green juice, but Roux recommends whipping up a simple spring salad as another way to take advantage of their nutritional offerings. "Dandelion greens add a strong bitter flavor bringing satisfying complexity to meals, and are rich in Vitamin A to support eye health," she says. "As they contain both vitamin C and iron, the non-heme plant form of iron absorbs more efficiently. I love pairing with lentils (also high in iron), bell peppers (high in vitamin C), fresh mint, and balsamic vinegar with olive oil to create a well-balanced salad that also happens to be an inexpensive iron-rich meal."
Mint & Parsley
"Herbs such as mint and parsley are widely available in the spring; both rich in vitamin K and minerals such as calcium," explains Roux. "I love chopped fresh herbs in grain or bean salads, even in smoothies." She adds that another way to get mint's benefits is by steeping fresh leaves in hot water to "support bowel regularity."
"A cooler season crop harvested in spring and in the fall, watermelon radishes are rich in prebiotic fiber, and vitamin C," Roux explains. "Due to their fiber content, they pickle easily, and can be sliced thinly or shredded, making for a crisp texture and unique shape to satisfy your palate in a salad or on tacos." This vibrant veggie also makes an Instagram-worthy topping to your standard avocado toast.
This slightly bitter stalk, which Roux notes is high in vitamin K and potassium, also pairs well with another classic spring and summer staple: strawberries. "Try making a strawberry rhubarb chia compote to add to hot oatmeal, buckwheat cereal, or yogurt," she suggests.
"Fresh, whole well-seasoned artichokes pack a double nutritional benefit," Roux explains. "While [they] are high in fiber, folate, and vitamin C, the sensory adventure of pulling apart a steamed or baked artichoke with one’s hands, and enjoying each leaf with various dipping sauces is a delightful pleasurable eating experience."