Get a fresh start on your health this spring with seasonal produce to support a plant-based diet.

Eating a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet is recommended for people with Parkinson’s disease in particular because it helps us nourish our brains, optimize digestion and keep all the other complex systems of the human body in tip-top shape.

To get the best nutritional bang for your buck, choose fresh produce over their canned, frozen or dehydrated versions. If you really want to boost your health this spring with a healthy Parkinson’s diet, reach for the seasonal fruits and veggies.

Seasonal produce is fresher, tastier and packed with more nutrients. It’s also more cost-efficient since the rules of supply and demand dictate that the more abundant the produce, the lower the prices. Plus, acquiring seasonal produce from nearby farms boosts the local economy, which means you’re not only helping yourself, you’re helping your community.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which produce is in season because we live in an era of convenience. We see the usual staples, such as potatoes, bananas or spinach, lining supermarket shelves 365 days a year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are in season.

Where can I find seasonal produce in my area?

Seasonalfoodguide.org is one of the most comprehensive national databases of seasonal produce available in the U.S. You can search by state or month to learn where and when local produce in peak season in your area. To also find out where and when your favorite fruits and veggies are at their ripest you can search by produce, too.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-ED) that offers nutrition education to fight obesity and improve health outcomes. SNAP-ED also has a helpful seasonal nutrition guide that explains which produce is in season across the U.S.

Living in the era of convenience isn’t always a bad thing now that we have companies like Imperfect Produce, a weekly or biweekly subscription service that allows you to shop online for local, seasonal produce and have it shipped directly to your door. The company rescues fruits and veggies that would ordinarily go to waste because they don’t live up to the cosmetic standards of grocery stores and ships them to subscribers at a discount.

Which fruits and veggies are in season right now?

Spring marks the beginning of prime growing season, so there are too many seasonal fruits and veggies to list. Here are some of the more popular commodities available in March:

• Apples
• Avocados
• Bananas
• Broccoli
• Carrots
• Celery
• Eggplant
• Garlic
• Kale
• Lettuce
• Lemons
• Mushrooms
• Onions
• Peas
• Potatoes
• Spinach
• Strawberries

What are some easy recipes I can make at home for a plant-based diet?

Buddha bowls are all the rage these days because they are easy to put together and packed with nutritious grains, legumes and veggies, and topped with delicious sauces or dressing. You can prep the ingredients in advance for a quick meal that will keep your belly full for hours. Here is one of our favorite Buddha bowl recipes that incorporates broccoli and sweet potatoes.

Smoothies are excellent way to get your daily nutritional requirements while taking advantage of seasonal produce. Spring is definitely smoothie season because many popular smoothie recipes call for bananas, berries and lettuce. Check out our smoothie guide for some fresh ideas this spring.

Here are a few more recipes that incorporate spring seasonal produce:

Grilled kale pasta salad
Spicy lettuce wraps
Smokey baba ghanoush