5 Tips for Creating a Fresh, Healthy Garden

5 Tips for Creating a Fresh, Healthy Garden

Spring has finally sprung, and as we all begin to rediscover our outdoor spaces, there’s no better time to create a mini-garden to support fresh and healthy eating throughout the season. Even tight spaces – like rooftops, balconies, and patios – can provide just the right amount of space to grow a perfect collection fresh veggies and herbs that boast significant nutritional benefits.

So instead of a trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store, grow your own garden to have fresh ingredients at your fingertips. When you do, consider these tips on the top five best veggies to grow at home:

1. Lettuce

Why it’s great: Low in calories, high in vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, and a host of minerals and phytonutrients.

Tip from Mary: Darker green varieties have the most nutrients.

2. Peas

Why they’re great: Wildly nutritious, full of fiber, protein, phytonutrients that fight disease, omega-3 fats, and vitamin E. 

Tip from Mary: Peas are a versatile addition to soups, salads and casseroles. Try the sugar-snap variety for a sweet and crunchy low-calorie snack.

3. Cucumbers

Why they’re great: Almost calorie-free and an easy addition to salads and sandwiches.

Tip from Mary: Keep skin on, as this is where most of the nutrients are. The skin is packed with fiber.

4. Tomatoes

Why they’re great: Full of vitamins C, A and lycopene (which protects against cancer and some eye diseases)

Tip from Mary: To save space, consider an upside-down tomato garden. Free standing planters are a great option.

5. Basil and other Herbs

Why they’re great: Besides their fragrance, herbs are known for their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also nutrient-packed, boasting vitamins A, C and K.

Tip from Mary: Substituting fresh herbs for salt in meals is a great way to limit sodium intake.

For more information, and to check out the full nutritional benefits of these veggies and more, visit CalorieCount.com.

Written by: Mary Hartley, RD, MPH – Nutritionist for CalorieCount.com

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