Spring

By Katherine Sumner

“Our bodies crave what nature provides, all we need to do is stop and listen.”

Why is it that in the spring we have so many children suffering from colds and allergies instead of enjoying the sweet scent of a spring flower?

The answer is simple – nature provides the foods we need in each season that we need them; when we eat foods out of season, we do not listen to nature’s wisdom.  When you eat the right foods during each season, you are providing your body with all the necessary nutrients needed for it to face that environment and keep your bodies healthy and strong.  If we pay attention to our cravings during the year, we can discover exactly what our bodies need.

The first harvest comes in spring and consists mostly of sprouts, roots, and bitter greens (dandelion greens, swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, green beans, asparagus) to help cleanse our bodies.  During the spring as the ground softens from all of the rain we receive, we begin to see plants begin sprouting up from the soil.  Our bodies will also begin to hold on to more water, and as the body begins to rehydrate from the dry winter months, the toxins are sent to the liver.  If the body has not begun eating bitter greens, roots, or sprouts, which help the liver remove toxins from the body naturally, then we may start experiencing spring colds, allergies, and coughs. Bitter greens and roots will remove mucus from the body and clean the blood, helping the liver do its big spring cleaning job!

NOURISHING OUR CHILDREN IN THE SPRING

So how can we as parents begin to feed ourselves and our children seasonally – beginning with spring?

First, we need to minimize some of the heavier foods such as dairy, nuts, meats, and heavy root vegetables (sweet potatoes).

Second, we need to start adding in more lighter spring foods into our daily meals - such as cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, sugar snap peas, sprouts, bitter greens, radishes, berries, grapefruit, and lemons.

Third, which I find the most important, is finding delicious ways to eat these spring foods and get our children involved in the process.  We all know children like to have choices.  When we can empower our children with choices of foods they love to eat, then it is a win-win for everyone.

You can start by planting some of these spring foods sugar snap peas, lettuces, parsley, radishes, and berries or by taking a trip to your local farmer’s market and having your children pick a new vegetable or fruit to try!  Then find a simple recipe with your child and get them in the kitchen.  Depending on their age, they can help you clean the vegetables, measure and mix up the ingredients, or set the table.  Once you find a few recipes that seem to work, add them to your family favorite list!  Here is one of our family favorites for spring:

GARDEN OF PEAS

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup snow peas, trimmed or edamame

1 cup sugar snap peas, fresh or frozen

2 cups frozen or fresh peas (8 ounces)

½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest

4 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp butter

1 tsp fresh dill

salt to taste

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add snow peas and sugar snap peas and sauté for 2 minutes.  Stir in frozen peas, sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, butter, and salt to taste.  Great to pack for school lunches!