Spring is here! Thankfully, it has decided to stay for a while in Memphis this year! It seems like we often go from wintry weather to summer humidity in this city, so I’m attempting to soak up every minute of these perfect temperatures this year with cookouts with family and friends, nice lunches and dinners outside, outdoor concerts, visits to the zoo, and walks with Bret and the dogs. I wrote the following article/post below with hopes of publication in a local magazine, but it still has not been printed to my knowledge (or perhaps I missed it). I thought I’d share my tips for eating right and getting healthy in the spring with all of you instead (or as well?)…I hope you enjoy!
As the season changes from winter to spring, it may be time to make some small changes in the way you eat. Lighten up, freshen up, and work up an appetite to put a “spring” in your step over the next few months.
Winter is a time when many turn to heavier “comfort” foods. Although these dishes can be healthy and hearty, seek to enjoy light and refreshing fare during the spring as temperatures begin to rise. Instead of heating up the house with the warm stews and roasts of winter, get outdoors and fire up the grill to create healthy, flavorful, and lean meats and vegetables. Other common cooking methods during springtime include steaming, stovetop searing, blanching, stir-frying, sautéing, and broiling. With the right seasonings, any of these techniques will enhance the fresh and flavorful tastes of your spring produce.
Another way to freshen up your plate during the spring is by purchasing seasonal fresh produce from your local grocery store or farmers’ market. Seasonal produce tastes better and is usually less expensive. The increased volume coupled with the decreased cost of transportation to stores lead farmers’ markets and stores to sell their seasonal items at lower prices to prevent spoilage before sale. The following produce may be found at your local farmers’ market (and by local, I mean Memphis and the surrounding areas) during the spring: early spring greens, strawberries, herbs, zucchini, squash, sugar snap peas, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, and baby carrots. Artichokes, asparagus, and rhubarb may also be found in your local supermarket during the months of April, May, and June. The more vibrant the environment in the spring and summer, the easier it becomes to make your meals more colorful.
Make room to enjoy all of the colors of spring by working up an appetite for meals and snacks. With warmer weather and longer days, it may be easier to spend time being active and outdoors. The summer humidity and heat is just around the corner, so enjoy the moderate temperatures while they last! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and 2 sessions of muscle-strengthening activity per week. Keep in mind that even the smallest lifestyle changes can lead to lasting results and big differences in your health. Slowly work toward physical activity goals, and gradually incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Try not to be fooled into diet commercials or celebrity promotions of “crash” or “fad” diets which promote the elimination of food groups or other extreme weight loss measures. The secret to looking and feeling your best any time of year lies in small lifestyle changes over time, and all foods can fit into a healthy diet when moderation and balance are kept in mind. When you learn to incorporate your favorite seasonal foods into a balanced diet, you will be better able to enjoy and feel satisfied by the lighter and fresher tastes of spring along with the tastes of the other seasons.