Lighten Up Your Meals for Spring

As the days get longer and warmer, I move away from heavier meals.  You know the kind I’m talking about–I call them “comfort food” and they’re great for fall and winter when those cold evenings call for something that will help warm my family and chase away the chill.  This time of year I’m spending less time in the kitchen and more time outdoors.  Plus, I’m looking for meals that won’t weigh me down as I’m more active than during the cold weather months.  I find the easiest way to do this is by adding more fruit and vegetables to my meals, in particular in season varieties.

I’m a big fan of pasta and I don’t care what the latest fad says.  I’ll never give it up.  In order to curb the calorie count, I simply add more veggies to the mix.  This way, I still get my pasta, but reduce the amount and I fill up on the lower calorie veggies mixed in.  I found this ideal spring recipe for Lemony Spring Risotto, which includes peas, asparagus, shallots and lemon juice.


lemony spring risotto

Entree salads are always a perfect warm weather option.  They’re easy to prepare and they won’t weigh you down as long as you use lean protein and healthy ingredients like fruit and veggies.  Stay away from ruining a beautiful salad by topping it with a high fat salad dressing.  Use options like flavored vinegars with a little olive oil and citrus juices instead.  I like this recipe for Grilled Chicken Salad.  It uses either spring mesclun greens or spinach as its base.  Both are in season right now so either would be a great choice.  With the warm weather finally here, it is time to break out the grill so grilling the chicken adds a great flavor to this salad.  The dressing uses a variety of herbs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  It also calls for grapes, crumbled goat cheese (or a similar cheese like feta), and pine nuts.

grilled chicken salad

Finally, I know that typically we all think of soup as a cold weather meal, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.  You just want to keep the version on the lighter side and use ingredients that are in season.  Here is a recipe for Spring Minestrone Soup with Pesto that uses in season ingredients like leeks and savoy cabbage.  If you’re having this for a dinner meal, I would add a side salad and some crusty bread.

spring minestrone soup

These are just a few ideas to try.  Do you have any spring entrees that are light and easy, which help to keep you out of the kitchen?  If so, please share them with us via the comments section below.

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