Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring Produce

You hear it over and over again..."Eat more fruits and vegetables"...but do you?

Well, the first step towards this goal is to BUY more fruits and vegetables.  If you get them in your kitchen, chances are (hopefully) that you will eat them and not let them go to waste.

Right now in my kitchen I have apples, grapes, cherries (frozen), mango, rhubarb (is that a vegetable???...yep it is, I just Googled it); I also have romaine lettuce, green onions, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, tomatillos, poblano peppers, and corn (I'm making this recipe this weekend).  So I'm all stocked with healthy things...this way I'm more likely to eat healthy! 

So next time you go grocery shopping, start in the produce section and purchase whatever looks/smells spring.  Or head to the farmer's market and buy whatever they have...if it's there you know it's fresh and seasonal.

Here is a list of what's in season now (March/April/May).  Look around the site; it's the government's "eat more fruits and veggies website"...there are recipes, tips on shopping and meal planning, activities for kids, and other interesting things.

And lastly here are 2 other links with recipes to inspire you.  The first is an article from the NY Times by Mark Bittman...he is a cookbook author and has a website with some free careful, all of them are are not necessarily low-cal.  

Anyway, the article is "Summer Express: 101 Simple meals ready in 10 minutes or less".  They aren't really recipes, just ways to put a few ingredients together to make a quick meal.  Again not all of them are low-cal. 

And the other is from, 43 easy spring produce recipes.

So let's pretend you have all this produce in your what?  Here is a guide to cooking 20 different veggies.  And remember, the less you cook them (less time, heat, and water), the more nutrients are retained (with the exception of tomatoes, which are even better for you when cooked)...this means you Mel and your olive green broccoli!

Raspberry Mango Salad

  • Per serving - 98 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: ½ fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 ½ fat, ½ protein)
  • Notes - You could substitute any type of lettuce in place of the arugula, Bibb, and watercress; If you serve this as a meal you will want to eat more than 1 cup: add some lean protein and double up on the veggies...maybe add red bell pepper, green onions, and more might need to make/use a little more dressing too; here is another similar salad that has avocado...yum!

  • Per serving - 168 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated), 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, `12 g protein (exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 fat, 1 ½ protein)
  • Notes - Complete the meal and serve with fruit for breakfast or with a simple salad for dinner; to lighten the dish even more, you could use more egg whites and omit a couple of yolks and use reduced fat cheese (and possibly less of it)
  • Per serving - 265 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 63 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 6 g protein (exchanges: 2 fruit, 1 starch...unless you omit the honey, ½ milk)
  • Notes - You can use any fresh or frozen berry in this shake or swap the juice for another type; I would add the honey last and taste before to see if it's might already be sweet enough from the banana, berries, and juice; I like my smoothies thick so I add ice…and this way you get to drink more for the same amount of calories!
  • Per serving - 145 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 27 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: 1 starch, ½ fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 fat)
  • Notes - I would double the dressing and save half...then for a quick lunch you could have a mixed green salad (with the extra dressing) and a serving of wheat berries

Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes

  • Per serving - 285 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 14 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 32 g protein (exchanges: 5 protein, 1 vegetable, 2 fat)
  • Notes - Complete the meal and serve with whole wheat angel hair pasta and steamed asparagus
  • Per serving -  410 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated), 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 56 g protein (exchanges: 7 protein, 2 vegetable, 2 ½ fat)
  • Notes - This is a lot of chicken for 1 meal (8+ ounces)…save some calories (about 140) and have ½ of a chicken breast, or try and buy smaller ones

Here is an article with 3 more spring vegetable recipes...Chicken with Artichokes and Peas, Salmon and Roasted Veggies, and Spring Vegetable Pesto Pasta.


  1. I loved your article about veg. I have a garden planted with tomaoes, bell peppers, yellow & white squash, zucchini, corn, red beans, green beans, cucumbers, watermelons, and cantaloupe so I guess that I am headed in the right directions. I will be trying so of your recipes as I will have an abundance of veg. I am going to can and freeze some. Let you know when you are coming home and I will bring you some fresh vegetables. Love, Aunt Sherrie Keep up the great work

  2. Oh Aunt Sherrie...I would LOVE some! I'm coming home on Monday, so maybe then?

  3. 1. You know I'll be making the Carrot-Wheat Berry Salad with Cumin and Raisins ASAP!
    2. If you can't purchase your produce to make at home, find a place like Sandy's Market in Houston to go and eat pounds of them off their fresh, organic salad bar. We're going when you're "home".