Looking forward to summer’s harvest? Don’t overlook the fresh and flavorful spring crops. Loaded with nutrition – fiber included – spring crops boast leafy greens, their cruciferous cousins, and overwintered root vegetables among other things.
Spring into these early season vegetables and get warmed up for summer’s wholesome treats that are just around the corner.
Kale & Collard Greens
It’s hard to surpass the leafy green reputation of kale and collard greens. These spring harvest greens offer up three to five grams of fiber in their one-cup servings, not to mention up to four grams of protein per serving in collards, and vitamin A and C levels worth bragging about. Served by the bowlful or even chopped and added to recipes, a little bit of these veggies goes a long way in the nutrition they provide. Don’t be shy adding leafy greens to all your spring meals.
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Low in calories (25 calories per cup), broccoli and cauliflower are two cruciferous vegetables that come highly recommended for their superior nutritional value. Three grams of fiber per serving combined with potassium and vitamin C, broccoli and cauliflower are versatile vegetables that can serve as the foundation of an entrée, a simply roasted side dish, or a crunchy snack.
Asparagus offers some serious health perks. These fancy spears serve as vehicles for several vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, E, K, B6), fiber and protein (just to name a few), and with spring being its peak season, there are no barriers to roasting, grilling it, tossing them into pasta with some olive oil and Parmesan, or boiling and blanching them for a cold and crunchy snack. Don’t let asparagus get away. Peak season won’t last long.
What contains 60 calories and ten grams of fiber? A medium-sized artichoke! Artichokes are highest in insoluble fiber, the type of fiber that contributes to bowel regularity. They also deliver a sizable amount of soluble fiber too, promoting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Steamed, boiled or baked, cooked artichokes can be eaten warm or cold with a melted butter or Greek yogurt dip. Artichokes hearts can be steamed or lightly sautéed in olive oil and added to pasta and salads.
There’s more to the high-fiber spring harvest than the items mentioned here. Take advantage of colorful cabbage, root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, turnips and rutabagas, and more salad leaves including arugula, endive and radicchio.
Summer will be here before we know it, and with it, a whole new slew of high-fiber fresh produce.
When you don’t have spring produce on hand, get your 12g of Fiber from Fiber d’Lish! Choose from 8 delicious flavors, all made with 6 grains & seeds and no soy!
Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.