If you’ve had trouble sticking to those healthy-eating resolutions you probably made back in January, here’s some good news! Spring is the season for fresh fruits and vegetables and lighter eating, meaning it’s the perfect time to step away from heavy, cheese-filled casseroles and start experimenting with lighter spring dishes.
Eating and cooking healthier this spring doesn’t mean only eating “rabbit foods” like lettuce, spinach and carrots. Rather, it simply means adjusting aspects of your grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking to limit what’s bad for you and to increase what’s good for you.
Need some help figuring out how to do so? The following tips can help lighten up your cooking to help you and your family begin spring healthily and deliciously:
Experiment with Substitutions
There are dozens of ingredient substitutions out there that allow you to cut down on calories, fat and sodium without making you sacrifice flavor or your favorite meals. Use cooking spray instead of butter, whole grain bread for white bread, Greek yogurt for sour cream or baked sweet potato fries for deep fried French fries to instantly improve meals’ nutritional content. Using tomato recipes like marinara sauce and salsa instead of cream sauces or sour cream-based dips can also put a fresher spring twist on lots of recipes.
Cut Back on Carry Out
If Friday night is delivery pizza night in your house, try making a homemade pizza this Friday instead! Restaurant portions tend to be much larger and more fattening than their home-cooked counterparts, not to mention pricier. Cooking at home instead of falling back on carryout is almost always the healthier choice, so spend a little more time in the kitchen this spring.
Consider Your Cooking Techniques
Are you the type of cook who will deep fry everything in sight? If using boatloads of butter and oil in every recipe is your preferred method of cooking, it might be time to reevaluate your techniques. Instead of frying or sautéing in a pan full of butter, try baking, roasting or slow-cooking your meals for healthier options.
Even if you eat a salad for every meal, poor snacking habits can easily ruin a healthy diet. Keeping your kitchen stocked with smart snack options is another good way to eat healthier this spring. Shop for seasonal produce like apricots and strawberries and choose whole grain pita chips and hummus over greasy potato chips and onion dip.
Focus on Fruits & Veggies
Instead of making pasta, beef or cheese the star of a meal, focus on fruits and vegetables as the main ingredients instead. This is not to say you can’t enjoy your favorite pasta or easy lasagna recipe—just try and make sure that slices of zucchini, mushrooms and turkey sausage outweigh the pounds of noodles, globs of cheese and high-fat beef. Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, and don’t hold back on fresh spring produce!
For a lighter take on pizza this spring, try this easy recipe for delicious caprese pizza. It’s full of spring flavors like tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella and makes a great alternative to delivery pizza. Enjoy!
Quick Caprese Pizza
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 25 min
- 2 prebaked thin pizza crusts (12-inch)
- PAM® Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
- 1 can (8 oz each) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce with Basil, Garlic and Oregano
- 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, drained well
- 1 pkg (8 oz each) fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced, patted dry
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- Fresh cracked black pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly spray pizza crusts with cooking spray. Spread half of sauce over each crust.
Top each with half of the drained tomatoes and cheese. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden brown and crisp.
Top with basil leaves and sprinkle with pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For more easy recipes for spring, visit www.hunts.com.