Spring is a great time to “come clean” about healthy eating. It’s a perfect opportunity to get out of the winter mealtime rut, to lighten up your meals and return to a more healthy eating routine. After a long, cold winter of hunkering down, cozying up with comforting stews and hearty casseroles, spring offers endless ways to freshen up meals and snacks with healthy foods to eat such as in-season produce.
Spring Clean Your Eating Routine!
Here are a few ways to “spring clean your eating routine” by using in-season produce to take your meals out of the winter doldrums and bounce into spring.
Healthy Eating For Breakfast
Hot cereal and breakfast sandwiches may have been a staple for the past few months but lightening up breakfast is an easy place to start. Adding berries to the food you eat for breakfast is one of the simplest things to do and they can be added to almost anything! Berries are brain food as well as healthy foods to eat – the nutrients found in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries have memory supporting and cardiovascular protective properties,(1) so what better way to start your day than by adding a half cup of berries to your morning routine?
- Add them to cereal
- Top a cup of yogurt and granola with a handful of blueberries
- Toss them into a fruit smoothie
- Pour them over pancakes or waffles
Healthy Eating For Lunch
Spring lettuces are so fresh and flavorful this time of year. They are healthy, wholesome foods to eat and a delicious base for a lunchtime salad. Just toss in fresh spring peas, blanched tender asparagus, and sliced radishes for a crunchy, zesty lunchtime salad. Top it off with some lean, protein-rich leftovers you may have in your fridge for a light but filling lunch. Add any of these in-season spring veggies to your lunch for an extra serving of deliciousness!
- Spring lettuce
- Baby peas
- Fresh carrots
- Baby spinach
- Baby red potatoes
Healthy Eating For Dinner
With daylight lasting later into the evening and the temperature creeping up, it is much less tempting to curl up by the fire with a big bowl of stew and toasty bread and a good (or bad) movie. While you may be tired of heavy soup and stews, a lighter soup may be just the food to hit the spot! The liquid in the soup can be filling and some research has shown that having more liquid food, like soups, with your meals can help with weight loss! (2)
- Carrot ginger soup
- Baby pea soup
- Broth-based noodle soups
- Ramen style chicken soup with baby Bok choy
Healthy Eating For Snacks
Don’t forget about snacks and fluids. Hearty granola bars and hot tea may have gotten you through the winter, but spring is a great time to mix things up a bit with more different kinds of healthy food. Most of these can be made in 5 minutes or less!
- White bean and garlic dip – a can of cannellini beans, garlic, and fresh parsley. It’s perfect on wheat crackers, as a spread on a piece of toast, or veggie dip.
- Hummus and crackers or veggies
- Mango or pineapple salsa and chips – super easy and a great way to get some extra fruit. Just toss the fruit with a little jalapeno, honey, and diced red pepper.
Use these simple healthy eating ideas to add some springtime flavor to your menu, lighten up your meals and nourish your body. And who knows, you may find yourself with a little extra spring in your step.
To Your Health!
Sharon Iezzi, Manager
Oklahoma Academy Country Store
(1) Miller, K., Feucht, W., & Schmid, M. (2019). Bioactive Compounds of Strawberry and Blueberry and Their Potential Health Effects Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Nutrients, 11(7), 1510.
(2) Flood, J. E., & Rolls, B. J. (2007). Soup preloads in a variety of forms reduce meal energy intake. Appetite, 49(3), 626-634.