Is It Over Yet? Spring Diet Overhaul: 2015

Winter is finally coming to a close. As I write this post St. Patrick’s day is slipping away, meaning one thing, Spring. Even as a dietitian, I can honestly tell you I am sick and tired of eating heavy food. If I consume one more meal with a meat and potato base, I might just turn vegan and say to hell with it.

Much like we turnover our closets come warmer weather, we should also do the same to our diets. Out with the sweaters, in the kale! No more elastic waist sweatpants, football jerseys or perpetual yoga pant wearing. Same can be said for what we consume. It is time to ‘retire’ all the dense, warm foods and bring in the dietary version of jorts. For those of you unaware of the jort fanomon, they are jean shorts. Jean + shorts = jorts. Consider yourself youthanized. See what I did there?

So here I am. To provide you with ideas for ways to get out of eating canned food and back into the produce section!

Spring Diet Overhaul: 2015

From Google Images

From Google Images

1. Fruit

Stop eating apples and oranges. I feel as though my fruit consumption this winter was a math problem your third grade teacher asked you to solve. ‘If you have 4 apples and Brad eats two of them, but then Andrea gives you 3 oranges, how many pieces of fruit do you now have?’ For the love Chiquita Banana, please give me more options! Spring will now provide you with seasonal fruits such as apricots, honeydew, mango, pineapple and strawberries. Dig in!

2. Vegetables

Potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts and parsnips has been the bounty of the winter doldrums. I feel I have reinvented ways to make sweet potatoes 20 times over the past few months. Roasted, mashed, grated, steamed – you name it. My winter vegetable series looked something like Red Robin’s hamburger menu. Sure, you can add different toppings and condiments, but it all starts to taste the same after a while. Good news! Spring vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, snow peas and spinach. These next few months are basically the equivalent of a movie I hope to produce one day, ‘Spring’s Green Latern’. You are welcome Ryan Reynolds for the quasi plug.

From Google Images

From Google Images

Check out local vendors and grocery stores for seasonal proteins in your area. And do not forget to reincorporate whole grains. I know you’ve been living on nothing but sticky white rice, Cocoa Puffs and sourdough bread for the past few months. So get to gettin’! The bounty is here and you needs some vitamins. I mean seriously, your skin could use some help. Believe me, I know. I am pretty sure I look translucent these days and skin flakes the size of quarters are falling off my face.

Crushing on Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be a very underrated vegetable. Think about it, how often do you see it as a side option at restaurants. Broccoli rabe, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms and creamed spinach seem to pull rank in the vegetable department when it comes finer dining. Cauliflower can be broccoli’s inferior step sister; she’s ugly and can be downright boring sometimes.  As a dietitian, it feels almost illegal to dislike any type of vegetable, but I am going to be honest with you, there was once a day some 10 years ago I HATED cauliflower. The texture, the lack of flavor – it’s a vegetable that screams ‘Blah!’.

So why am I writing about it? Well, in my growing maturity over the past 10 years, I’ve learned to embrace two things; no longer needing powder blue eye shadow and cauliflower. The turning point was the night I decided to make whipped cauliflower for the family as a mashed potato alternative. After that dinner, cauliflower has never been the same.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferious vegetable family. Other members of this classification include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and kale. The name ‘cruciferous’ comes from its alternative name Cruciferae, new latin for ‘cross-bearing’. The shape of these plants four-petal flowers resemble a cross. Get it? One rule of thumb for these vegetables: don’t overcook them. When overcooked, they can give off a strong sulfur odor.

Over the past decade or so it seems like one waxing and waning health trend is to swear off all white foods. Why? Sure white breads, pasta and rice aren’t nutritionally dense, but I’ve found that many people think other white foods are bad for you. They’re not. White beans, white button mushrooms, parsnips, onions, turnips, cauliflower and regular white potatoes all have nutrients to bring to the table. Yes, even potatoes.

Now then, I spotlight cauliflower today. It is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties through its high vitamin C and K content. One cup of cooked cauliflower contains 5 grams of fiber and 140mg of omega-3. Talk about protecting that ticker of yours!

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

I enjoy cauliflower roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees F until tender and lightly browned. When cooked properly, cauliflower develops a very smooth, creamy texture great for adding to soups or as a substitute for cheese on salads. You’re probably rolling your eyes at the idea of a vegetable taking place of cheese, but try it! Click here for my Curried Cauliflower with Garlic Roasted Beans and Brown Rice on The Healthy Revival (pictured above).

Come back next week for a delicious twist on a classic recipe featuring cauliflower!