3 Seasonal Fat-Burning Foods to Celebrate the First Day of Spring

Spring has almost sprung, and that means a whole new crop of nutrition powerhouses at your local market. Here are three of my favorite mouth-watering picks, how they'll help you get ready for bikini season, and simple ways to gobble them up:

Artichokes: One medium choke packs some important minerals like iron and calcium, along with over 20 percent of your daily fiber needs. One study in Brazilian dieters found that over a 6-month period, each addition gram of fiber resulted in an extra quarter pound of weight loss. I love them steamed in lemon water with fresh mint and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

New potatoes: When spuds are cooked and cooled they're one of the best sources of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance linked to a boost in fat burning during the hours after a meal. Cube, cook and chill them and serve lightly dressed in a mixture of cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced red onion, celery, and scallions.

Strawberries: One cup provides just 50 calories with over 150 percent of your vitamin C needs. Studies show that a higher blood level of vitamin C results in burning more fat, both at rest and during exercise. Enjoy these gems as is, dipped in melted dark chocolate, or tossed into a fresh spinach salad - and if you have leftovers snip off the stems and freeze them for your smoothie stash.

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

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