It’s springtime again and we’re starting to get some of that nice spring produce back in season! Yay! Eating in season when fruits and veggies are at their peak of ripeness and flavor is healthy, delicious and smart! Here are a couple of reasons why:

  1. It’s cheaper! Local, seasonal produce is usually less expensive than food that has to be grown in a greenhouse or shipped from some far-away location. Who wants to pay $7 for a box of flavorless strawberries in January when you can enjoy the flavor burst of a fresh orange for a fraction of the cost? Not me. Try to base your menu on produce that’s “in” right now and you’ll see your grocery bill dip dramatically.
  2. It tastes better! Kind of a no-brainer, but produce that is in season is at the peak of its flavor. Food that isn’t in season where you are has to be grown somewhere else and every step it takes to get closer to you means its losing flavor. Harvesting early to prevent rotting, chilling and shipping all diminish the flavor of fruits and veggies.
  3. Produce that is in season has more nutrients! Harvesting early for shipping to you means the plant didn’t have a chance to mature fully and reach its full nutrient potential. Eating things that are in season and available locally means eating produce at its highest nutrition density. Better tasting and better for you. All around win!

Here’s an easy dinner recipe that uses snow peas! Green beans are another great alternative. Just go out and see which looks better and cheaper to you in the produce aisle. Eat fresh!

Chicken and Snow Peas
4 servings, 11/4 cups each
Time: 40 minutes

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons tahini, or cashew butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound snow peas, trimmed and thinly slivered lengthwise
2 tablespoons chopped cashews

Put chicken in and broth a medium skillet or saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a cutting board to cool. Shred into bite-size pieces. (Go ahead and dump the broth or refrigerate and use it to make some homemade soup!)

Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil and tahini (or cashew butter) in a large bowl until smooth.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in slivered peas and cook, stirring, until bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing.
Add the chicken to the bowl with the peas; toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with cashews.

Per serving: 284 calories; 13 g fat ( 2 g sat, 5 g mono ); 64 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 30 g protein; 3 g fiber; 509 mg sodium; 499 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (90% daily value), Selenium (30% dv), Iron (20% dv), Magnesium (18% dv).