My favourite way to welcome spring is to lighten up my eating habits. As the weather gets warmer, as more local vegetables become available and as I spend more time outside, I crave lighter, colder, more refreshing meals. Instead of the soups, stews and grains that warmed me in the winter, opt for more green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, raw soups and juices. This not only results in simpler meals to prepare but I also feel lighter, more rejuvenated and more energized!
Here are 5 key ways to lighten up your meals this spring:
- Start adding more salads to your diet. Whether for lunch or dinner, grab a big bowl and fill it up with fresh local greens. Salads help eliminate toxins, increase energy and provide a balance to your body.
- Drink your dinner. This isn’t ideal all the time. But some nights when I get home and don’t feel like making a meal or eating a heavy dinner, I just pull out my blender and make a yummy blended cold soup (see the deliciously refreshing recipe below).
- Change the ratios on your plate. This is the easiest way to lighten up while sparing your body extra calories. For example, instead of taking an extra serving of grain, add more veggies, either steamed or fresh.
- Use vegetables in place of grains. In the spring, it’s fun finding veggie alternatives to whole grains. For example, grind up cauliflower instead of rice or use kelp and Zucchini noodles for basic dishes or pasta recipes. Top this up with our fave Green Goddess Salad Dressing
- Make juice. This is the easiest way to start lightening up in the spring. Making a tall glass of vegetable juice is an easy way to load up on nutrients instead of calories.
With the days lengthening, reach for foods like green vegetables that will hydrate and refresh you. To start, try this refreshing
Green Avocado Cucumber Soup
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
2 large ripe avocados
½ cup spinach or kale
2 green onions, roughly chopped
2 apples (crisp and tart apples like granny smith)
2-1/2 cups coconut milk or coconut water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Parsley for garnish
Optional additions: garlic, ginger, cayenne, dill
- In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth. Chill until ready to serve and garnish with fresh herbs.
This article was originally written for Chatelaine.