Spring is filled with enthusiasm and energy. As the long, grey days of winter give way to budding trees and colorful spring flowers, we feel energized to take on those projects that we’ve put off for another day. We begin to shed the winter doldrums and get ourselves out of bed earlier, start spring cleaning and even begin to pay attention to our gardens. Let’s not forget, that spring is also a great time to make new choices and create real and lasting changes in our lives.
Pay attention and listen to your body as it tells you what it needs. As the heartier dishes of winter are replaced with spring’s lighter fare, you can take advantage of what’s in season. Choosing nutrient rich seasonal fruits and vegetables will not only boost your brainpower, but it will also save you money.
Springtime markets offer an array of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables in every color and make it easy for you to “eat your way through the rainbow.” The season’s wide variety of antioxidant-rich leafy greens and vegetables are great for your immune system, low in sugar and easy to prepare.
Fresh salads are a seasonal favorite. Make one with a delicious spring mix of greens like mesclun, bib, butter and frisée. Add some crunch with snap peas, fennel and radish and some lean protein and you’re on your way to a delicious and nutritious meal. If you find that the dishes you’ve always made just don’t taste quite the same anymore, experiment with some fresh herbs and spices, as they are a great way to add flavor without adding extra salt or fat.
Now that the weather is improving, it’s time to open your doors and let some fresh air into your life again. It’s also a great time to host a dinner party with friends. Food that’s shared is always more enjoyable, although planning a party can sometimes be intimidating. Look to the professionals for a little help. Celebrity Chef Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) offers these essential tips for spring dinner parties:
- Build a menu around what’s fresh at the farmers market.
- Garten says that in-season spring ingredients like asparagus; radishes and rhubarb taste better and are cheaper.
- Choose dishes that can be cooked simultaneously.
- Garten always includes an oven-cooked dish, a dish cooked on the stove and a dish served at room temperature.
- Prep some dishes ahead of time.
- Dessert is a perfect candidate. It’s a huge timesaver!
- And lastly, Garten says don’t try so hard to impress people that you forget to enjoy yourself!
Embrace the energy of springtime. Clean out the junk that weighs you down and make some changes to better yourself and your life. It is never too late to hit the reset button and begin anew. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way.
In 2016, the FDA announced a change to the Nutrition Facts label that you find on packaged foods to reflect new scientific information. The new label has begun to appear on new packages and will be mandatory on all packages by January 2021. The labels are designed to make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. They also now address the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease and give updated information on serving sizes. Take a look below to see what’s new.