Fresh and Fruity Spring Luncheon Recipes
Spring encompasses so many wonderful moments, from the hint of asparagus spears peeking through the soil to the ripening of the first strawberry. I grew up on a farm in central Illinois, where we grew both of these in our garden.
But not only do early signs of these fruits and vegetables welcome the season, they also contribute to a healthy diet.
“Strawberries are one of the top seven foods you can eat for vitamin C,” says David Grotto, a registered dietitian from Chicago and author of a book called The Best Things You Can Eat. “A one-cup serving gives you over 160 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, and they’re a great source of fiber. The shocker is even though they are so sweet, they’re one of the lowest sugar foods you can eat.”
Studies show that strawberries serve as a rich source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. And for some time now, cell and animal studies support the many benefits of consuming strawberries for heart and brain health. Human data also shows that eating strawberries will increase the amount of antioxidants you have on hand to do battle with disease.
Rhubarb also provides plenty of vitamin C. The bright pink stalks of this tart vegetable complement the sweetness of strawberries, as we’ve done in our Strawberry-Rhubarb Angel Food Cake.
In fact, the versatile strawberry pairs well with a number of other ingredients ranging from fruits to nuts, which also pack a nutritional punch. In fact, walnuts provide myriad nutrients, including copper, manganese, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
“They are rich in omega-3 fats compared to any other nut,” Grotto says. “Walnuts are also an excellent source of vitamin E, particularly from gamma-tocopherol, which a study showed may reduce the growth of colon cancer cells in vitro.”
The nut received one of the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration qualified health claims back in 2004. Research supported (though did not conclude) that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day as part of a healthy diet could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
From salads to sweets, the following recipes add the perfect touch to seasonal celebrations such as graduations, Mother’s Day or any occasion that calls for a light luncheon menu. Happy spring!