If the thought of coming out from beneath your baggy cold-weather sweaters is making you break out in a cold sweat, relax! You still have plenty of time to lose weight and look your best before sundress season arrives. Spring is actually the best season to find foods that are packed with the weight-loss-superstar fiber. This macronutrient helps fill you up, can clean you out, and makes achieving your weight loss goals a whole lot easier. What’s more, these particular foods are also bursting with micronutrients that help turn off your fat-storage genes, leading to even more rapid, sustainable weight loss.
Check out our list of healthy foods to help you get ready for spring!
These delicate spirals are the furled fronds of a young fern, which is why they are only around for a few weeks in early spring. They’re packed with manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber, which inhibits the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, helping you to minimize munching. And if you thought bananas were the potassium powerhouse, then you’ll be interested to know these give the yellow fruit a run for its money. Fiddleheads actually have more of the bloat-banishing mineral per gram than bananas, which can also help lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
How to Best Eat It: Clean by removing any of the papery outer coating; then soak them briefly in a bath of cold water with a bit of lemon and salt. Drain and then steam them for four or five minutes. Add the steamed fiddleheads to a skillet with a couple tablespoons of unsalted butter and cook on each side for a minute or two. They’ll turn golden like asparagus. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
This plant might look like a red-hued celery, but if you’ve ever been adventurous enough to cook with it, you know that this vegetable is much more flavorful than its twin. Tart rhubarb loves to partner with fruit to become a sweet treat. (Just don’t eat the leaves—they’re poisonous!) Rhubarb is high in catechins, the same compound that gives green tea its belly-fat fighting properties. Catechins blast adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speed up the liver’s capacity for turning that fat into energy.
How to Best Eat It: Wash, dry, and trim the stalk at the root and leaves. Cut a slit under the edge of the rhubarb skin at one end and pull down the remove the stringy fibers, similar to what you would do with celery. Cut stalks into 2-inch pieces, toss with cinnamon, honey, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and roast in a 350-degree oven until rhubarb is tender, about 30 minutes. Serve on top of some full-fat greek yogurt and top with crunchy pistachios.
The ultimate spring vegetable, asparagus is rich in potassium and low in sodium, which helps your body achieve proper electrolyte balance and works to reduce bloating. Add the plant’s anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and health-promoting antioxidants—like glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful free radicals—and you’ve got yourself a powerful weight-loss arrow in your quiver. That’s why asparagus is one of the 30 Healthiest Foods for Women.
How to Best Eat It: You probably already know that these delicious veggies don’t need much to make them taste great, but feel free to shake things up a bit with a quick vinaigrette. Whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, dijon mustard, white-wine vinegar, and minced garlic. Pour half the vinaigrette over the spears and grill until tender. Once cooked, plate and drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette on top.
After a winter of blues and greys, it’s nice to get a little pop of color in your life. Colorful vegetables are key to weight loss and radishes are no exception. Their red hue is due to anthocyanins, a phytochemical that has been shown to burn fat and reduce the risk of diabetes. They’ve also been shown to reduce cholesterol, insulin resistance, and inflammation. In a Japanese study, rats fed radishes for three weeks showed reduced levels of bad cholesterol and insulin and a boost in good HDL cholesterol.
How to Best Eat It: Eat them whole as a high-fiber, belly-filling snack, add a layer of sliced radishes to a goat cheese toast, use them as a salad garnish, or make them the star of the salad alongside another seasonal veggie, the carrot.
Red Leaf Lettuce
One serving of red leaf lettuce is only 14 calories, but it’s bursting with fiber. It’s the one of the world’s greatest weight loss foods because it will fill you up and keep you feeling full for hours after you eat it. Even better, two generous cups of lettuce provide 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement for strong, healthy bones. A report from the Nurses’ Health Study suggests that women who eat a serving of lettuce every day cut the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent than when compared with eating just one serving a week.How to Best Eat It: Create a simple vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, minced shallots, a touch of honey, salt and pepper. Combine roughly chopped red leaf lettuce with arugula, another spring lettuce, and top with spring veggies like roasted beets, orange slices, and walnuts.