Put Your Best Fork Forward…And Into Fresh Spring Foods
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign highlights the importance of making healthy food choices and developing good dietary and physical activity habits. This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” which serves as a reminder that we each hold the tool to make healthier food choices.
Spring is a great time to hit the reset button and reintroduce some fresh foods into your diet after a long winter. Start with these 4 fresh ideas:
Spinach is called a superfood for a reason: It’s packed with vitamins A and C, which are essential for eye health, immune function and many other body processes. Vitamin K helps build strong bones. Spinach also contains folate and iron, which help prevent anemia. The magnesium and potassium are important for muscle development and growth.
Serve spinach salads or add it to smoothies. Serve it sautéed with meat and fish. You can even puree and mix it into sauces, soups and meatballs.
A calcium-rich food, yogurt is important for building strong bones and teeth. At eight grams per 6 ounce container, yogurt is also a great source of protein. Greek yogurt has up to twice that much, however it provides less calcium. Yogurt is also a good source of probiotic bacteria, which can promote good digestion and immune system function.
Make yogurt parfaits by layering yogurt, cereal and fruit. Or try topping pancakes and waffles with yogurt and fruit instead of syrup.
Loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, fresh strawberries are a seasonal superstar. Just one cup provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin C, plus a hearty dose of manganese, which is important for bone development. A serving of strawberries also packs three grams of fiber.
Strawberries are great eaten plain or with other foods. They are a great addition to smoothies, cereal and yogurt.
Asparagus is an excellent source of bone-building vitamin K as well as folate. It also provides vitamin A and iron. Available in green, purple and white varieties, asparagus spears are fun to eat and go with all kinds of foods.
Try rolling asparagus in egg and panko crumbs and baking on a cookie sheet. You can also add Parmesan cheese to the panko crumbs for a cheesy variation. Serve with teriyaki or tomato sauce for dipping or even a small amount of low-fat ranch dressing.
Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics