Spring is a great time to add more fresh foods to your meals and it’s also one of the easiest times to do so. Fruits, veggies, leafy greens, and herbs are overflowing at farmer’s markets, health food stores, common grocery stores, and in gardens you may have at home. This makes spring a great time to lighten up your menu and get creative in the kitchen! Learning to add fresh produce to your meals is one of the best things you can do on a regular basis to incorporate healthier foods into your day. The more you fill up on healthy options, the less room you have for the processed stuff (and especially the animal-based protein and fats). Plus, many spring dishes are delicious and satisfying, and can easily be made in just minutes or ahead of time to keep on hand all week long. They’re also lighter on your stomach than some cooked dishes, and will give you plenty of energy to get outside and enjoy all the spring sunshine!
Try these seven recipes out this week, perhaps by choosing one per day. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, improvise with what you do have. Of all the raw, fresh foods we have available to us this time of year, there’s really no better season to start trying new things. Plus, think of this as an easy, painless way to give yourself a reboot, no juice detoxes needed!
Make these and reap the benefits all week long!
1. Green Superfood Detox Smoothie
Don’t let the green color fool you; this smoothie is packed with vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, and even protein. It’s also a good source of energizing and hormone-boosting properties from the maca, bananas and hemp seeds used. To add more protein and fiber, it includes kale, spinach, oranges and grapefruit which all supply nutrients that your body needs for immunity, healthy digestion, and for healthy blood sugar levels. If you’re watching your sugar intake, just cut back on the bananas used in the recipe and add a little more hemp seeds for a higher ratio of protein to carbs. Either way, this Green Superfood Detox Smoothie is sure to satisfy your cravings for something sweet without causing a sugar crash that ruins your energy levels later on.
2. Blueberry Vanilla Pineapple Oatmeal With Almonds
Pineapple is full of health-boosting properties, especially for your digestion and your joints. The main enzyme the fruit is known for, bromelain, helps break down proteins in the body and also calms inflammation. If you have IBS or bloating and don’t tolerate other fruits, give pineapple a try, such as in this oatmeal recipe that uses pineapples, blueberries (also helpful for combating inflammation and aiding digestion), and oats. Not only is this an antioxidant-packed breakfast choice, but it’s also a great way to work more fresh produce into your day. When you eat grains such as oats that are rich in iron, it’s always a smart choice to add a natural source of vitamin C to boost the iron absorption. Pineapple has 108 percent of your daily vitamin C needs in a cup, while blueberries also have some vitamin C (though not quite as much). Almonds and chia seeds are added here for healthy fats which also help aid in absorption of all the many vitamins and minerals this dish contains. Plus, it’s a sure-fire way to brighten up your morning thanks to all those colorful pieces of produce!
3. Superfood Salad
Sprouts are a great food to add to your menu for spring because they’re symbolic of what spring is all about: fresh, new life. Sprouts are also full of enzymes that boost digestion and absorption. If you’re not a fan, try using them in a salad with something healthy, light, but still hearty like hummus and pumpkin seeds with fresh greens. This Superfood Salad is full of iron, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and even protein too. Unlike heavier dishes, it’s also helpful for keeping you energized throughout the day without weighing you down. Stick to lower sodium hummus varieties to prevent bloating and excessive thirst, and always use your sprouts fresh as the best option!
4. 3 Minute Acai Bowl
Acai bowls are one of the trendiest recipes of the moment for breakfasts, snacks and desserts. Sort of like a smoothie bowl, acai bowls are a great change of pace when you’re tired of oatmeal but still want a dish that lets you pack in plenty of variety. Though most recipes use a mixture of frozen acai or acai powder with bananas, you can also use avocados (or even pumpkin) in place of bananas or with bananas for an even creamier texture. Try this 3 Minute Acai Bowl that features avocados, which are abundant during the spring and summer. Avocados’ healthy fats will aid in satiety, boost nutrient absorption, and even aid in regulating your blood sugar and digestion. Acai is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and one of the few fruits to contain no sugar whatsoever. So all in all, what are you waiting for? This fresh recipe is calling your name!
5. Avocado Kale Chili Salad
For a delightful dish that’s more like an entree than a salad, give this recipe a shot. It has a nice dose of fat and protein from the avocado, but is still very light on the stomach unlike other dishes that might be high in fat such as meat-based sandwiches or salads coated in mayo-based dressings or heavy amounts of oil. It’s also raw and high in enzymes, which makes it naturally more energizing than cooked food and easier to digest. Featuring onion, chili, lemon, cayenne, and mustard, this salad is also packed with flavor and antioxidants. Give it a try and even keep a big batch on hand to enjoy all week!
6. Carrot Miso Soup
So maybe you’re not quite tired of soup just yet and hey, we don’t blame you! Many soups are just filling enough to cap off the day without being too heavy on your stomach. Carrot Miso Soup is a great example. It’s light, satiating, and rich in probiotics and enzymes that aid digestion, which will in turn help keep you energized. Miso is also packed with vitamins and minerals that can aid in satiety and boost your overall mental well-being. Carrots provide that sweet, hearty flavor but aren’t as heavy (or as high in starch) as sweet potatoes or white potatoes. Finally, the other ingredients used here like onions and garlic will provide additional antioxidant support that add flavor without too many calories. You can make this for lunch or dinner, and even pair it with a small salad on the side to complete your meal.
7. Roasted Pepper Zucchini Pasta
If you just can’t help but crave pasta, then by all means, do give in to those cravings! Pasta is easy to make lighter by simply substituting veggie-based noodles for grain-based noodles. This trick reduces the starch, adds vitamins and minerals, and ups the fiber content. Zucchini is especially low in calories, and fat-free but very high in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It even has a nice creamy texture to it, and is abundant during the spring and summer. So, why not make creative dishes like pasta with it? Roasted Pepper Zucchini Pasta is a great option because it’s made from whole foods, features arugula (another springtime star that’s highly nutritious), and has a fresh flavor to it while providing heartiness from the roasted red peppers and pine nuts. To make it lighter, just omit the small bit of olive oil used in the recipe. Either way, it’s a great dish!
Now that you have an arsenal of fresh recipes to make this week, what are you waiting for? Delicious (and healthy) food is just a few bites away! For more spring recipe ideas, see 10 Vegan Recipes to Put in Your Weekly Meal Plans This Spring, and checkout our Spring Recipes too.
What’s your favorite spring recipes to make that help you incorporate more fresh foods?
Lead Image Source: Vegan Zucchini Noodle Japache/Flickr