Celebrating the Arrival of Spring Produce

By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

Spring is finally here in the Midwest, and things are starting to get greener. Crocuses and daffodils are blooming, and it seems people are starting to have a little more of a spring in their step as the promise of summer and warmer weather approaches. That also means that soon we will have local fruits and vegetables once again.

Focusing on increasing fruits and vegetables, especially from local sources is a great way to focus on improving your overall health and fertility. Certain fruits and vegetables like leafy greens, avocados, and oranges are rich in folate, which is important for preventing neural tube defects. In general, fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and potential anti-inflammatory compounds. These may be supportive of both female and male fertility. Did you know that women going through ART have higher levels of oxidative stress that may be offset with antioxidants? Loading up on the fruits and vegetables is a great way to do this. Increasing fruits and vegetables also increases your fiber intake, which feeds your beneficial gut bacteria (fertility nutrition starts in the gut!). Try to choose organic when possible, as eating higher pesticide fruits and vegetables has been linked to longer time to pregnancy.

Farmer’s markets are great way to work eating more fruits and vegetables, as the freshness and quality is often superior to the produce found in grocery stores, where it may have been shipped many miles. At the farmer’s market, your produce may have been picked just that morning or the previous day! Another great option is gardening if you have the space. Studies on gardening show that it may help combat stress, boost your mood, and it’s good exercise! Live in an apartment or condo and don’t have outside space? Seek a community garden, or try growing some herbs in your window or in a pot on your balcony. Other options for a deck or balcony could be salad mix in a pot.

Eating more vegetables is a great way to boost your overall health and fertility, by increasing fiber and nutrient density of your diet.

Try these tips to increase the amount of vegetables you’re eating:

  1. Add vegetables to your eggs at breakfast (or any time of day).
  2. Add cauliflower rice to chili, curry, or stir-fry.
  3. Add greens like kale to soups, chili, taco meat, or stir-fry toward the end of the cooking time.
  4. Have a big meal salad with protein.
  5. Add sautéed onions, mushrooms, and greens (like spinach, kale, or chard) to tomato sauce.
  6. Use spaghetti squash or oodles instead of pasta.
  7. Add cucumber, celery, and/or greens to a smoothie.
  8. Use cauliflower, spaghetti squash, or zucchini to make pizza crust.
  9. Use zucchini or eggplant instead of noodles in lasagna.
  10. Roast carrots, beets, broccoli, or cauliflower with olive oil.

Check out some seasonal nutrition recipes! Learn more by consulting with a nutritionist!  Book today!  Questions?  Call us at: 312-321-0004.

 

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