Buying fruits and vegetables when they're in season can help you improve your lifestyle in more ways than one. First of all, this practice helps you save money, which gives you more freedom to buy the foods that will do you the most good. Secondly, foods that are in season are at their peak in terms of nutrition and overall deliciousness.
There five foods are in season this month and there is still plenty of time to add them to your shopping list:
Superfood One: Cauliflower
Why Try It: A member of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables, cauliflower is incredibly low in calories. In fact, you can eat an entire medium-sized head of cauliflower for less than 150 calories. It also provides your daily vitamin C as well as a healthy dose of fiber for digestion and vitamin B6, which is known to help support healthy brain function.
How to Prepare It: Cauliflower isn't just a filler vegetable for a crudite platter. Try roasting it in the oven with just a little salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil for a deep, nutty flavor. You can also bowl and puree it as a substitute for mashed potatoes. Lastly, you can use pureed cauliflower as a thickener for soup -- just add stock and whatever herbs, protein or other ingredients you like.
Superfood Two: Leeks
Why Try It: Leeks belong to the Amaryllidaceae family and are similar in nutritional value to onions and garlic. One whole leek (bulb and lower part of the leaves) has less than 40 calories and provides vitamin A for eye and skin health, as well as some vitamin C and a little fiber. You also won't find any fat or cholesterol in this vegetable.
How to Prepare It: You can use a leek a lot like an onion. Roast leeks and add them to soups or sauces for a punch of flavor or as a topping. Try layering them with thin slices of sweet potatoes in a baking dish, top with low-fat cheese and seasonings and bake for a tasty side dish. Lastly, instead of a fattening mayo-based french onion dip, make one with leeks and greek yogurt for vegetables.
Superfood Three: Rhubarb
Why Try It: Belonging to the Polygonaceae family, you most commonly eat the brightly colored stalk of the rhubarb plant. One cup has only 26 calories and provides 2 g of fiber for digestive and heart health. Eating this food will also provide you with 16 percent of your daily vitamin C for the immune system and about 10 percent of your daily calcium for strong bones and teeth.
How to Prepare It: Rhubarb is commonly used in sweeter preparations, like pies, jams and cobblers. There's no reason to quit this practice, but there are ways to make these dishes healthier. Instead of white sugar, try substituting a natural sweetener like stevia, which has no calories. For a crust, use almond meal and whole what flour for more fiber. Coconut oil also makes a great butter substitute.
Superfood Four: Arugula
Why Try It: Also a member of the Brassicaceae family, arugula is an annual plant whose whole leaves are most commonly eaten. One cup of arugula has les than 10 calories and provides calcium for the bones and teeth as well as some vitamin A and protein. This leafy green also contains B vitamins for cognitive function and energy production as well as minerals.
How to Prepare It: Swap out iceberg lettuce, which has much less nutritional value for arugula the next time you're making a salad. Arugula has a slightly spices flavor that adds a little something extra. You can also top a pizza with it (after cooking) for a unique topping or even add a handful of this green to your next green smoothie or juice.
Superfood Five: Clementines
Why Try It: A clementine (Citrus × clementina) is actually a hybrid made from a sweet orange and mandarin. Because they're seedless and easy to peel, they're a favorite for snacking. One medium clementine provides potassium, a valuable electrolyte, along with 60 percent of your daily vitamin C. At only 35 calories, a clementine is also cholesterol and fat free.
How to Prepare It: Eating a clementine plain is certainly delicious, but get creative by adding the segments to salads with vegetables or tossing them into the juicer with greens to brighten up the flavor. You can also add clementine segments or slices to a pitcher of water with some lemons and mint to create a delicious and hydrating drink that also helps with bloating.
Be inspired by these healthy foods this month and get everything you need to prepare them at eVitamins!