Diet Detective’s Spring Tips

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Create a Vegetable Garden: The fun of getting your hands dirty, planting and growing your own food, might actually encourage you to eat healthier.

Where should you start? Try looking at the following websites:

    Spring Clean Your Life: Imagine this scenario: You wake up and can’t find a thing to wear because your closet is a disaster. Searching takes up five to 10 minutes of stress and wasted time. You plan on grabbing something to eat for breakfast, but when you look in the fridge, it’s a mess. You think about making some eggs, and when you go to find a pan, everything comes tumbling off the shelf. Now you’re borderline late, so you skip eating altogether. You’re stressed, and this is not a healthy start to your day. Read about how to clean out.

    Watch Those Easter Candies:

    Speckled Jelly Beans, Jelly Candy, 9 pieces, 220 calories
    Bunny Mix, M&M’s Peanut, 1.5 ounces (1/4 cup), 220 calories
    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, 5 pieces, 220 calories
    Palmer Happy Hopper Bunny, 13 ounces, 1,100 calories
    Cadbury Creme Egg, 160 calories
    Cadbury Mini Eggs Candy, 12 pieces (40 grams), 190 calories
    Snickers Chocolate Egg, 1.5 ounces, 200 calories
    Russell Stover Solid Milk Chocolate Eggs, 6 pieces, 230 calories
    Russell Stover Marshmallow Rabbit, 2 ounces, 230 calories
    Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, 1 piece, 170 calories
    Pez Hippity Hoppities, 1 roll, 35 calories
    Bunny Peeps, 4 bunnies, 110 calories
    Jelly Beans, 4 calories per bean
    Hershey’s Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg (570 calories for the shell alone) with 4 candy-coated milk chocolate eggs inside (90 more calories)

    Buy Local: “Eating local” means different things to different people; however, if you’re interested in sustainable food production, conserving fuel, polluting less, supporting local farmers, eating new and interesting varieties of food, getting fresher food, supporting the local economy and eating less-processed foods — you should be eating local. How do you get started eating locally grown food? Take a look at for a national directory of farmers who market their goods directly to the public.

    Other resources:
    Community Supported Agriculture
    A list of 4,385 Farmers Markets
    Fresh Food Listings
    Information and News
    Recipes and Tips

    Kick-Start Your Health by Donating to a Charity: What better way to start exercising than by walking, running, biking, swimming or participating in some other activity for charity? To find out how, go to, then enter “charity” and the area where you live in the search engine.

    Eat Strawberries: They’re loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin C and folate. And one large strawberry has only six calories. Research conducted by the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine and others has shown that the phenolic compounds in strawberries have potent anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties and also help protect against heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

    Try this fabulous healthy recipe by from EatingWell Magazine and

    Arugula & Strawberry Salad
    4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each | Active Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes

    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 4 cups baby arugula, or torn arugula leaves
    • 2 cups sliced strawberries (about 10 ounces)
    • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved and crumbled into small pieces (1/2 cup)
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, (see Ingredient Note)
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


    1. Toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a salad bowl; let cool for 5 minutes.
    2. Add arugula, strawberries, Parmesan, pepper and salt. Sprinkle vinegar and oil over the salad; toss gently and serve at once.


    Per serving: 204 calories; 16 g fat (3 g sat; 5 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 251 mg sodium; 262 mg potassium

    Ingredient Note: Aged balsamic vinegar (12 years or older) is a treat, but not an economical one. If you don’t want to spring for a $40 bottle, use regular balsamic. Alternatively, bring 1/2 cup regular balsamic vinegar to a boil over high heat in a small skillet. Cook until the vinegar begins to thicken and become syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Eat Apricots: Apricots are loaded with vitamin A — 1 cup has about 3,178 IU, or 64 percent of your daily recommended value. Vitamin A converts to the antioxidant beta carotene, which is involved in the growth and repair of skin tissue and may protect against sun damage. Additionally, it is said to have anti-cancer effects and to enhance immune system function. And 1 cup of sliced apricots, about four apricots, has only 79 calories plus 3 grams of fiber. Apricots are also packed with vitamin C (27 percent of the daily recommended value), plus potassium, iron, copper and the antioxidant lycopene.

    Try another fabulous healthy recipe by from EatingWell Magazine and

    Wild Rice with Dried Apricots & Pistachios

    Colorful apricots, scallions and pistachios make this vibrant dish worthy of any holiday table. Since wild rice (really a grass) does not absorb liquid to the extent that true rice and other grains do, cook it in boiling water and sauté the vegetables separately so they stay tender-crisp.

    6 servings, 2/3 cup each | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

    • 7 cups water
    • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
    • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, chopped
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 2/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
    • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped


    1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook at a lively simmer until the grains are tender and starting to split, 45 to 55 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve.
    2. Shortly before the wild rice is ready, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, garlic and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add apricots, orange juice, salt and pepper; simmer until the apricots have plumped and the liquid has reduced slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the wild rice. Remove from the heat and stir in scallion greens. Serve topped with chopped pistachios.


    Per serving: 224 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat; 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 104 mg sodium; 498 mg potassium

    Rate this post

    You may also like

    Subscribe To The Weekly Food & Nutrition News and Research Digest
    Our weekly email news and research digest is everything you need to know about food, nutrition, fitness and health.
    No Thanks
    Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
    We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will NEVER be shared.
    Don't miss out. Subscribe today.