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Celiac Nutrition Guide, 3rd Edition (Single Copy)

Celiac Nutrition Guide, 3rd Edition (Single Copy)

This easy to read “survival guide” outlines essential information for people diagnosed with Celiac disease.

Spring Fling: The Best of the Season's Produce

 

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Spring Fling: The Best of the Season's Produce

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By Lauren Innocenzi, Online Content Manager

Spring is in full swing. Flowers are blooming, trees are turning green and food markets are showcasing nature's fresh bounty of fruits and veggies. Great taste and nutrition means there's no reason not to load up your basket with an assortment of the season's best. "The more colors the better!" says Dee Sandquist, MS, RD, LD, CDE, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson. Sandquist offers up her picks for this time of year.


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Strawberries

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Strawberries are a darling of spring and summer, and they're one of Sandquist's favorites. "[They're] low in calories, high in fiber and a great source of vitamin C," she says.

When shopping, look for strawberries that are firm, plump and full colored. For the best flavor, Sandquist recommends washing them immediately before use and serving at room temperature.

Another tip: "Mix strawberries with fat-free plain yogurt for a healthy snack that will fill you up and give you energy," she adds.


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Asparagus

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Asparagus  is a good source of iron, B vitamins and vitamin C, and another all-star according to Sandquist. "Drizzle a bit of lemon flavored olive oil on top and bake until tender for a quick easy dish," she suggests.

Choose bright green asparagus with firm, brittle spears and tightly closed tips.


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Cherries

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Need to catch up on a few Zzzs? Have a bowl of cherries before bedtime. According to Sandquist, cherries are "One of the few foods that contain melatonin, nature’s natural way to sleep."

Cherries peak in late spring and early summer. Select plump and bright-colored fruit. Sweet cherries with reddish-brown skin will be flavorful. Avoid cherries that are overly soft, shriveled or have dark stems.


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Peas

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Peas please! Peas feature B vitamins and zinc and are a good source of protein. They're also quite the versatile veggie. "[Peas] make a great side dish or mix with casseroles, salads and soups," says Sandquist.

For the freshest peas, go for small bright-green pods that are crisp, firm and plump.


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Apricots

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Apricots contain beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. "Eat [them] for dessert," says Sandquist. "The natural sweet flavor provides a great balance of sweet flavor and nutrition."

Look for apricots that are plump and golden-orange in color. It’s OK if they have blemishes—as long as they don't break the skin. Skip fruit that is pale- or greenish-yellow, very firm or shriveled and bruised.


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Melons

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Melons—such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon—are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. "Watermelon [has] great flavor for a snack, dessert or salad," says Sandquist. "Or make tiny balls and use for decorative toppings with sorbet."

Look for these gems starting in June for peak freshness. When you pick your melon, try giving it a thump. You should hear a low-pitched sound. That means it has a full, juicy interior—just what you want!


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Valencia oranges

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Oranges and vitamin C go hand in hand. But don't overlook this fruit's other nutrients such as folate, potassium, thiamin, niacin and magnesium.

Valencia oranges are in peak supply May, June and July, earning them the nickname summer orange. Although they are commonly used for juicing, Valencia oranges can also be enjoyed fresh. For example, says Sandquist, "Add to a garden green salad or eat for breakfast as a fruit."

Pick thin-skinned, firm, bright-colored oranges.


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Swiss chard

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Swiss chard stems can be green, red or a rainbow of red, pink, orange and yellow. Chard is a good source of magnesium, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C. The best way to enjoy this colorful veggie? "Just a quick sauté with olive oil," says Sandquist.

Select chard that has fresh, green leaves free of blemishes or discoloration.


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Tips

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  • Produce at peak quality contains the most nutrients.
  • Select fresh produce that you will eat in 2-4 days to prevent it from browning and losing nutrients.
  • Wash produce before you cut or peel it so dirt and bacteria aren't transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Support local farmers markets and community supported agriculture organizations (CSAs).

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