Bring on Spring!!

Spring is finally here, which for my family means more cooking outdoors! Don’t get me wrong, I love the comfort food Winter brings! Soups, chili’s and casseroles, YUM! But, there is something about having more fresh fruit and vegetables available that you just can’t beat. Add the grill and some sunshine to that and now we are talking about a great way to spend time with family! 

I recently did a talk at the local Snap Fitness about basic nutrition and I wanted to share some of the information with you all. Starting to eat healthier anytime of year is fantastic but having more foods available in the Spring can make it much easier. 


Let’s start with the group that gets a bad rep. CARBOHYDRTES!! Eating carbs is not only ok to do, but encouraged! It is just picking the right ones.  Aim for more whole grains, brown rice, whole fruits and vegetables. 


Carbohydrates includes sugars, starches and fibers.

They are Simple and Complex

  • Simple- quick energy sources: table sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, etc.
  • Complex- derived from plants and contains both starch and fiber: vegetables, potatoes, grains and fruits.
  • Adults recommended to consume between 45%-65% of daily calories.


Fiber is a part of the carbohydrate family that cannot be digested but it is important to keep the digestive tract healthy.
Dietary Fiber: Soluble or Insoluble: found in beans, whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

  • Soluble- absorbs water, slows nutrient absorption and helps reduce blood cholesterol levels.
  • Insoluble- not broken down and adds bulk to intestinal contents.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.
  • Recommended for Women 19-50 y/o 25 grams, Men 19-50 y/o 38 grams.


Which now brings me to lipids or fats. A diet complete with healthy fats such as avocado, olives, nuts and fish oils are great. Fats are made up of saturated and unsaturated fats. 

  • Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as meat, milk and cheeses. Some are found in plant products such as coconut and palm oils. They are used in foods (crackers, cereals, dressings, cookies) to create longer shelf life. Diets high in saturated fats are associated with risk of heart disease. 
  • There are a few types of unsaturated fats: Monounsaturatred fatty acids (MUFA) which include olive, peanut, and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which include corn, soybean, and safflower oils. Diets high in these types of fats are associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats are more problematic, in which they are “super whipped” changing them from liquid to solid form at room temperature. They are called hydrogenated fats when looking at food labels.
  • Suggested daily intake for adults is between 20-35% of total calories.



Last but not least comes protein. Adding lean meats, eggs, nuts, greek yogurts, beans, etc. is a nice way to get a well balanced diet.

  • Protein is used for building, maintaining, and repairing muscles, skin and blood.
  • 10-20% of total calories should come from protein for sedentary individuals and 25-30% for athletes or physically active individuals.
  • 40 grams per day for females, 55-70 grams per day for males.
The FDA has more transitioned from using the food pyramid to using Choose MyPlate to help with portion control. 

My favorite Spring and Summer meal is grilled cod fish with grilled veggies on the side and maybe some brown rice. It’s light with great flavor and filling!! 

What is your favorite meal come the Spring time?

 Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Andover Physical Therapy 

April 17th, 2017

Posted In: General

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