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. I am still just as hungry, and eat pretty much the same amount of food. However I choose to make some simple substitutions for foods that I would have typically eaten over the winter months. Instead of the soups, stews and grains that warmed me in the winter, I 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. As I get more in tune with my body, I realize it needs less starchy food and more water based foods during the spring and summer months.
Let me share with you my 5 ways to lighten up my load this spring:
- I start adding in more salads. Whether for lunch or dinner, I just grab a big bowl and fill it up with fresh local greens. I also think about choosing colourful vegetables, and different textures and flavours to make the meal more enticing.
- I drink my 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. I like to use treats like avocado to thicken it up and make it more filling.
- I change the ratios on my plate. This is the easiest way to lighten up while sparing my body extra calories. I opt to change the ratios on my plate. For example, instead of taking an extra serving of grain, I might add more veggies, either steamed or fresh. That way I am spending most of my time munching on fiber and getting in good nutrients.
- I use vegetables in place of grains. It’s always fun finding alternatives to pasta and whole grains. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my quinoa and brown rice pasta. But in the spring, I often find myself opting for veggie versions. For instance, I grind up cauliflower instead of rice or use kelp and zucchini noodles for basic dishes or pasta recipes. Once I have these as a base, I can put any dressing or sauce on them and I don’t even notice the difference, apart from feeling lighter and getting full on fiber instead of starch.
- I make juice. I find that this is the easiest way to start lightening up in the spring. Whether I have my juice as part of breakfast, lunch or dinner, making a tall glass of vegetable juice is an easy way to load up on nutrients instead of calories.
With the days lengthening, I feel lighter already! I find myself eating lighter too. I find I no longer desire the warming, heavy foods of winter. I reach for foods like green vegetables that will hydrate and refresh me. Try it – you might just find it revitalizes you too.
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.
Simply said, Marni Wasserman’s life is rooted in healthy eating. Culinary Nutritionist, Health Strategist and founder of Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio & Lifestyle Shop located in midtown Toronto where she teaches her signature cooking classes, and offers collaborative workshops and urban retreats. She is also the Author of Fermenting for Dummies and Plant-Based Diet For Dummies. Marni has also made several media appearances on CBC, CHCH and Newstalk 1010 and has articles in Toronto Star, Huffington Post and Chatelaine Magazine. Marni uses passion and experience to educate individuals on how to adopt a realistic plant-based diet that is both simple and delicious.
For more information, check out her website at www.marniwasserman.com.