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Spring clean your nutrition

Spring cleaning isn’t just for decluttering your closets and clearing out the garage. Spring is a great time to evaluate your weekly meal plan and add a variety of healthy foods.

It’s good to change up your weekly meal routine. We get in a rut when the same foods appear on our plates week after week, even when they are favorites (spaghetti on Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, pizza on Fridays). Plus, adding seasonal produce is a great way to increase the nutritional value of your meals while also adding an appealing array of colors to your plate.

Here are 10 foods to consider adding to your spring meal routine. Not sure that you like one of the suggestions? Try cooking it in a new way! Our taste buds are always adapting and growing. Switching up the seasonings or cooking method may help you add a new favorite to your list.

  1. Artichokes – High in vitamin C, antioxidants and some potassium, these fiber-rich vegetables are filling and taste great when baked or roasted with a touch of Parmesan cheese.
  2. Halibut – Fish is a lean source of protein, healthy fats and calcium. Try this light, delicious fish with a side of Brussels sprouts and rice.
  3. Beets – These colorful root vegetables are packed with flavor and are highly nutritious. Try them grated raw into a salad, pickled or roasted and served with grilled chicken.
  4. Blueberries – Earn some activity points by heading out to pick your own bushel of these antioxidant-rich berries, and freeze extras to enjoy year-round. Eat them plain or toss a handful atop a yogurt parfait or cottage cheese.
  5. Strawberries – This red gem is filling, flavorful and sweet. Just like blueberries, they are high in antioxidants and pair nicely with yogurt or salad.
  6. Peas – Don’t let the starch content scare you away. Peas also have vitamins E and K, plus a bit of protein and fiber. Give peas a chance!
  7. Radishes – This often-overlooked vegetable can be cooked or served raw. Ease into this intense flavor by shredding a few and adding to a wrap or sandwich for a satisfying crunch.
  8. Asparagus – One of the first Michigan crops available in the spring, this vegetable is the subject of festivals and celebrations around the world. Try baking, sauteing or grilling the stalks, then squeeze a fresh lemon on top for added flavor.
  9. Basil – This warm-weather-loving herb is rich in vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. Use basil in your recipes instead of salt to ramp up the flavor. Bought too much? Chop or mince the leaves and place them in an ice cube tray, then fill the rest with water to freeze. Voila. Ready-to-go basil when you need it for a future recipe!
  10. Smoothies – Looking for an easy way to get lots of vegetables and fruits? Smoothies allow you to blend in flavorful additions to milk, yogurt, water or ice. Toss in some ground flax meal or chia seeds for added protein and fiber, and it will keep you fuller for longer.

Looking for other ideas to help “spring clean” your nutrition? Mary Free Bed offers Outpatient Nutrition Services and a Weight Management Program encompassing much more than a number on a scale. Participants develop self-confidence and healthier relationships with food, improve mental health and well-being, and decrease medications. Find out more about Outpatient Nutrition services by clicking here. Inquire about our Weight Management Program using this form, or call 616.840.8908. Our next class is 6-7 p.m. starting May 14.

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