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Spring Fruits and Vegetables

Spring has sprung! Farmers markets are popping up everywhere, and the freshest fruit and vegetable recipesare flooding magazine covers. Although it’s important to always follow a healthy diet packed with fruits and vegetables throughout the year, spotting the fresh fruits and vegetables on the farmers market stands in the middle of the season really draws our attention. Whether you buy your fruit and vegetables at the supermarket or at a farmers market, how do you know what the healthiest options are?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a “Dirty Dozen” list that lists foods with the highest amounts of residues and pesticides. Some of the “Dirty Dozen” foods include apples, grapes, strawberries, celery, cucumbers, spinach, peaches, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. The produce with lowest amounts of pesticides and residues are identified as “The Clean Fifteen,” and include avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, sweet peas, asparagus, mangos and kiwis.

If your goal is to find the freshest and most naturally grown food to support a healthy diet, eating organic could be the way to go. By purchasing ingredients from local farmers whose fruits and vegetables are not genetically modified, you are not only supporting your local farmer, but are also choosing the best possible ingredients for your body.

To find your local farmers market, click here.

Provided below is nutritional information and recipes for two of the “cleanest” spring ingredients:

• Mango: 1 cup, sliced: 107 calories, 0g fat, 28g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 1g protein

Halibut with Mango Salsa

Ingredients: 4 ounces grilled halibut (or other flaky white fish), 1/3 cup chopped mango, 1 tablespoon diced red onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon red bell pepper, 1 tablespoon canned green chilies.

Instructions: Mix mango, onion, cilantro, bell pepper, and chilies together. Top the fish with the mixture.

• Avocado: 324 calories, 29g fat, 17g carbohydrates, 13g fiber, 4g protein

Strawberry, Melon & Avocado Salad

Ingredients: 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, Pinch of salt, 4 cups baby spinach, 1 small avocado (4-5 ounces) that is peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices, 16 thin slices cantaloupe (about 1/2 small cantaloupe) with the rind removed, 1 1/2 cups of sliced strawberries, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds.

Instructions: Whisk honey, vinegar, mint, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Divide spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange alternating slices of avocado and cantaloupe in a fan on top of the spinach. Top each salad with strawberries, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.