Strawberry season has arrived in Maryland, but hurry, it will soon be gone! Strawberry season in Maryland only lasts from about mid-May through June. You have to be quick, but there are plenty of benefits to feasting on local strawberries (or any local produce for that matter).
Let’s first talk about strawberries. One question that I get asked constantly: “Is fruit bad for me? Isn’t it high in sugar?” It’s true that fruit contains natural sugars, but it’s full of other great nutrients as well! Strawberries contain important nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, folate, and phytonutrients. If your body has difficulty processing sugar (ie conditions such as diabetes and PCOS), then it is important to control portions. The good news about strawberries is that they’re lower in carbohydrate than other fruits, so you get more fruit per serving. For those counting carbohydrates, you get 1-1/4 cup strawberries for 15 grams of carbohydrate!
So why buy local? It supports the local economy and preserves farmland in your area! Apart from that, you are also getting produce that is fresher, because fruits and vegetables start to lose nutrients when they are picked. Eating local produce also promotes variety in your diet. If you are eating what is in season, your intake is changing throughout the year. This will provide your body with a wider range of nutrients.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy local produce is to go out to a pick-your-own farm and get it myself! You can find great deals and bulk prices at pick your own farms. This can also be a great family activity to get out into the sunshine and teach your kids where food comes from. Make a day of it! Many farms will also have food for sale and picnic areas.
So now that you have a big container of fresh strawberries, what’s next? It’s time to get cooking! Of course, strawberries are great on their own, but there is so much more you can do! Here are a few ideas:
It doesn’t get much easier than yogurt, strawberries, high fiber cereal, and nut butter. Nutritious breakfast, ready to go in less than 5 minutes.
Spread yogurt on a piece of toast and top with strawberries! You can also get fancy. One of my favorites has a layer of lemon curd, a healthy dollop of vanilla yogurt, berries, basil, and lemon zest.
Check out this blog about making smoothies!
Move over blueberries, strawberry muffins are here to stay! Just replace blueberries with diced strawberries in your favorite muffin recipe. Yum!
I’m a fan of strawberries and basil. They just go so well together! It doesn’t get much easier than sliced strawberries tossed with basil and drizzled with balsamic glaze.
Have you ever picked your own produce? What did you think?
Do you want help incorporating seasonal produce into your meal prep? Get in contact with us and make an appointment with one of our registered dietitians by calling 301-474-2499 or clicking here.