5 Spring Fruits & Vegetables: Healthy, Delicious, Available Now

April 04, 2019

Spring is the season of fresh starts, new beginnings, and a flavorful crop of fruits and vegetables. Eating colorfully offers more than unique flavors. In-season goodies provide nutritional benefits for health, beauty, and diet.

We’ve put together a list of our top five springtime picks of the most delicious, versatile, and colorful options this season.

 

 

Artichokes

Artichokes vegetable picture

This flower-like veggie made its way from the Mediterranean to California where today we produce nearly all the artichokes for the U.S.! Once boiled or steamed, the tender base of the artichoke leaves can be eaten, usually dipped in hollandaise, mayonnaise or aioli, while the tough upper part of the leaf is discarded. When the leaves are peeled away, the soft, flavorful heart—the most delicious part of the artichoke—is revealed. 

Artichokes are filled with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals good for overall health and glowing skin. They also reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels, are high in fiber (this helps you stay feeling full longer) aid with digestion, and help keep blood sugars stable.

 

Asparagus

Asparagus vegetable picture

These nutrient-packed stalks are full of vitamins and minerals. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked, served plain or in fancy sauces. Asparagus is often served alongside other spring vegetables like potatoes, peas, and garlic, but make a great roasted side dish or add-in for stir-fry meals. Best-served immediately after purchase, asparagus is available in three colors—green (the most common), white, and the sweeter, more tender purple spears.

 Asparagus is anti-inflammatory, helps with digestion, aids with weight management, and may even reduce the risk for cancer.

 

 

Rhubarb

Rhubarb vegetable fruit

Crisp rhubarb stalks are firm and glossy. Rhubarb’s texture is similar to celery, but it’s usually served in desserts. Known for its very tart taste and bright pink stalk, rhubarb is also known for its poisonous deep green leaves—be sure only to eat the stalk! The stalks are usually stewed with sugar and spices to make jams, sauces for cakes and other sweets, and mixed with strawberries and sugar to make filling for pies, tarts, and crumbles.

 Packed with fiber, rhubarb can aid weight loss and rev up the metabolism, improves digestion, boosts skin health, improves circulation, contributes to heart-health, and provides vitamins and minerals. With a list of benefits like that, we should all be adding rhubarb to our shopping carts!

 

 

Spring Onions

Spring onions picture

Recognizable by their green stems and white bulbs, spring onions (also known as scallions) are famous for their versatility in cooking and food preparation, as well as their health properties. A sweet, mild option when compared to their closest relatives—garlic, onion, leek, and shallot— spring onions are often used as a garnish, sautéed with other vegetables, or served pickled. Their pungent flavor lends itself to salads, salsas, soups, and many Asian dishes.

 Spring onions contain a number of vitamins, including beta-carotene, that contribute to healthy skin and good vision. They are naturally fat-free and low in calories, full of calcium, iron, and other nutrients. Because they are high in fiber, they are an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

 

 

Strawberries

Strawberries fruit picture

You already know and love strawberries, and they’re at their peak in spring. Eat them on their own as a dessert, or toss them into salads, smoothies, and cereal.

 Here’s a tasty fact: In one study, women who ate strawberries regularly were 34% less likely to have suffered a heart attack! Strawberries boast a wide range of heart-healthy benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and promoting healthy blood pressure. Because of their relatively low glycemic index, strawberries are a sweet treat for those with type 2 diabetes – strawberries can even help protect against diabetes and pre-diabetes. They’re full of fiber and, ounce for ounce, have more vitamin C than oranges.

 

 

Thank you Cali!

Two women in a street market watching the fruits

Fruits and vegetables like the fresh finds mentioned here are essential for healthy bodies, delicious additions to your regular diet, and affordable in-season. Thanks to Southern California’s sunny weather, you can also find these five favorites to give you a little variety. You should be able to find all of these fruits and veggies at your local farmer’s market or supermarket.

 Get creative with recipes and learn new ways that you and your family can enjoy and take advantage of the many fresh spring flavors now available to you.

 

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Eating Until You’re Color-Full

July 30, 2018

Colorful foods aren’t just nice to look at, they offer a lot of benefits to your health! 

berries

Red, Blue, and Purple Food:

  • They can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, urinary tract infections, and memory loss.
  •  These foods contain potassium, vitamins A and C, and folate. 
  • They are known for anti-inflammatory properties, helping to protect against cell damage, and keeping the heart, blood, joint, and immune systems healthy. 
  • Foods include tomatoes, pomegranates, berries, watermelon, cabbage, beets, eggplant, grapes, raisins, cherries, kidney beans, and red pepper.

 

lemons

 Orange and Yellow Food:

  • They can improve immune function and lower the risk of heart disease, vision problems and cancer. 
  • These foods contain folate, potassium, bromium, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. 
  • They are known for flushing out toxins and keeping the eyes, skin, teeth, and bones healthy. 
  • Try carrots, lemons, oranges, corn, peaches, nectarines, mango, squash, pineapple, bell pepper, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. 
     

avacados

Green Food:

  •  They can lower the risk of cancer and vision problems. 
  •  These foods contain folate and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  •   They are known for fighting free radicals, helping prevent blood clots, and regulating blood sugar. 
  • Foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula, green apples, limes, kiwi, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, grapes, and broccoli. 


garlic

White Food:

  • They can lower the risk for stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancers like colorectal cancer.  
  • These foods contain potassium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin C. 
  •  They are known for providing essential dietary fiber and supporting the immune and circulatory systems.
  •  Try pears, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, ginger, dates, potatoes, garlic, onions, black eyed peas, and white nectarines. 


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we should all try to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors. So go ahead and fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies! 

 

5 Fall-Fresh Fruits & Veggies to Try Now!

November 06, 2018

Southern California’s 80-degree sunshine-filled days don’t exactly feel like autumn, but you can still experience fall in the produce aisle of your grocery store! Peaches, nectarines, watermelons and other summer fruits are beginning to give way to heartier fall fruits and veggies. When you buy foods that are in-season, they’re healthier, have richer flavor, and cost less. Try them as suggested, and they’re sure to become family favorites. 
 

1.    Apples
apples

Apples have evolved from the Red Delicious you probably got in your school lunches, and there are many types of apples that have been grown to be sweet, crunchy, and more flavorful. You can slice them up and add them to salads, or bake them with cinnamon for a healthy, crunchy treat. 

Choose apples that are firm and free of blemishes or bruises. Store them in a cool, dry place - away from avocados, bananas, or citrus fruit.  To keep apples fresh after they’ve been sliced, give them a squeeze of lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning. 

Benefits: Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C – so they’ll keep you feeling full and healthy.

2.    Pumpkin
pumpkin

Pie isn’t the only way to enjoy this delicious, festive food. Enjoy it baked, like spaghetti squash or zucchini, but ditch the butter and try coconut oil or coconut milk instead. 

Benefits: Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A, which is great for your skin and eyes. You’re also getting powerful anti-inflammatories that can reduce pain and swelling while promoting improved digestion and circulation. 
 

3.    Beets
beets

Naturally-sweet beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the root.  The hearty leaves are like spinach: use them in a salad or enjoy them sautéed with some heart-healthy olive oil or vinegar. Beets are also delicious raw, shredded, and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.

Roasting or steaming beets whole takes the fuss out of peeling — the skin easily slides off after cooking. Fresh is always best, but in a pinch, you can make a delicious, healthy side dish by adding olive oil and oregano to canned beets. 

Benefits: Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure. 
 

4.    Sweet Potatoes
sweet potatoe

Once you try a baked sweet potato, you may never go back to the plain white spuds again. During the fall, there’s a huge variety of sweet potatoes available. Any of the varieties make a great breakfast side dish, and they’re equally delicious in desserts and savory dishes.

If you do eat them baked, skip the butter and cream and try using healthier coconut oil or coconut milk instead. Sweet potatoes stay fresher for longer when kept in a cool, dark place. Toss any that’ve grown sprouts.
 
Benefits: Sweet potatoes are loaded with carotenoids, vitamin E, potassium, copper, and fiber. They also have fewer calories and carbohydrates than white spuds.
 

5.    Kale
kale

Kale is definitely having a moment! The superfood is turning up everywhere, from juices and smoothies to salads and main dishes. 

Think lettuce, only tastier and heartier. Kale is so durable, it tastes sweeter when it is cold! Sautee it with salt, pepper, and olive oil as a tasty side dish. Add it to salads, tacos, or any other food that could use a healthy crunch. Unlike other types of greens, you can add your salad dressing ahead of time. The kale becomes more tender and delicious, not wilted.

Benefits: One cup of raw kale has only 8 calories and is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K as well as magnesium. Kale is also packed with fiber.
 

These are just a few of our suggestions. Check your favorite place to find healthy recipes – or get creative. With so many fresh fall flavors, the possibilities are endless.