Spring has officially sprung, which means it’s time to stock up on all the healthy eats that are in-season and in style as warmer weather approaches.
Fortunately, there are many ways to spring forward with a healthier diet as you transition from winter comfort foods to lighter fare. Integrate these creative food trends into your spring-cleaning diet and get inspired!
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1. Low-Carb Swaps
In general, keeping carbs in check can help you maintain your weight. And low-carb is getting an uplift with new ingredient substitution ideas. Try using shredded zucchini or spaghetti squash in place of pasta, or cauliflower instead of flour for pizza crust. And don’t stop there. You can use portobello mushrooms instead of hamburger buns or eggplant instead of bread. Have fun with new healthy ingredients to make lower-carb meals and snacks.
2. Grass-Fed Meats
‘Tis the season of grilling, which means meat will may more of a front seat at meal time. To make sure that you’re consuming nutritious meat, opt for grass-fed varieties. Grass-fed simply means that the animals grazed on—you guessed it—grass, which allows you to consume more omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and benefit heart health. Grass-fed options will have you firing up the grill this spring with less guilt.
3. Cold-Pressed Juices
With warm weather on the horizon, it’s time to introduce refreshing cold-pressed juices. These juices pack a nutrient punch and can help you increase your daily fruit and greens consumption. Cold-pressed juices aren’t treated with heat, so they retain more vitamins, nutrients and enzymes from the fruit and vegetables. If you don’t have time to make your own, it’s easy to find pre-made juices at grocery stores and restaurants.
4. Vegan And Plant-Based Alternatives
A sad side of broccolli isn’t going to cut it anymore in the veggie department. Now more than ever, vegetables are taking centre stage on our plates, exalted over big slabs of protein or heaping piles of carbs as the stars of the dish. Whether it’s cauliflower “steaks,” mashed veggies beyond potatoes, or vegan nut-based cheeses and yogurts, expect to see plenty of veggie-based, vegan options filling your Instagram accounts come spring.
Beets make a solid addition to springtime salads. You can cube them, cook them, and throw them on top of your favorite leafy veggies for an easy and healthy meal. Try eating them raw, marinating them with seasonings and oil, adding them to smoothies or juicing them. Beets are full of health-enhancing benefits such as phytonutrients, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese and the B-vitamin folate.
6. Gluten-Free Flours
Whether you have an allergy or simply want to expand their flour horizons, people are increasingly swapping white-flour for gluten-free flours made from from legumes, ancient grains and nuts. Dishes made from alternative flours such as millet, almond meal, teff and coconut flour are trending on Instagram and popular amongst Paleo circles, too. Try this trend with chickpea-flour crepes, coconut-flour muffins or almond-encrusted tilapia.
7. Coconut Oil
If you’re looking for a versatile ingredient for your spring baking and cooking, look no further. Coconut oil contains lauric acid and monolaurin, which help kill bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body. In addition, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil can increase energy and decrease hunger levels throughout the day. Coconut oil can be used in baked goods, a springtime veggie frittata, burgers and chicken, and other oil-substitutions for your favorite warm-weather eats.
8. Clean-Eating Snacks
There’s nothing like sitting out for a nice springtime picnic with a cool cocktail and a side of salty chips. However, the trend toward clean-eating isn’t slowing down any time soon, so instead of the store-bought stuff, why not make your own kale chips? Tear up pieces of kale, lightly drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle with your preferred seasonings (examples: nutritional yeast, salt and pepper), and bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at about 350 degrees. Pack the chips for on-the-go snacks or picnic chip-substitutes. Want more? Buffalo cauliflower bites, air-popped popcorn or avocado pudding are just a few more clean eating snack recipes you can sink your teeth into.
If you’re looking for some different veggies to add into the meal rotation, then consider adding rutabagas to the lineup. The vitamin-C-filled vegetables can be raw or cooked, so it provides for versatile options. In addition, you can mash them to create a twist on traditional mashed potatoes. Rutabagas can also be fried to create a healthier version of fries to pair with grilled chicken or a burger. The options are endless, so it’s a nice addition to your typical ingredients.
10. Fermented Foods
Take some time to load up on gut-friendly foods this spring. Probiotics introduce live microorganisms and bacteria into the body that benefit digestive health. Try drinking a kombucha beverage or loading up on saukerkraut, as these foods are cock full of probiotics. Other popular fermented foods include kimchi, tempeh and kefir, all of which are thought to promote gut health.