Here in New England, the ground is still covered with snow, but spring is just around the corner (hooray) and we’re itching to clean out anything we can get our hands on. Call it good karma, but if cleaning out our sock drawers brings on a warm day or the boom of the tiniest bud, we’ll take it! Spring is a time for renewal and fresh starts, which is why we’re serving up four easy-does-it ways to give your diet—or your family’s diet—a spring cleanup.
1. Drink Water: Choose water as your number-one thirst quencher versus fruit drinks, sports drinks, or soft drinks. Water is sugar-free, and since the average American consumes three pounds of sugar each week, switching to water is an easy way to cut back on the sweet stuff. To add some zing to your glass of H2O, add sliced citrus, mint, cucumber, or berries.
2. Pick More Produce: If you’re bored with the same green salad or your usual repertoire of fresh fruits, shake things up by trying one new fruit and one new veggie each week. There’s more to the produce aisle than apples and carrots, so seek out produce that you’ve never tried before, and then have some fun with new recipes and preparations.
3. Go with Whole Grains: At least half of your grains should be whole grains, so switch from refined breads, rice, and pasta to their 100% whole grain counterparts. Looking for new and interesting grains to add to your diet? Try ancient grains like farro, quinoa (technically a seed), and freekeh. Our Herby-licious Freekeh Salad should provide some inspiration!
4. Meatless Monday: You’ve probably heard of the Meatless Monday movement by now, so go ahead and jump on the bandwagon. All you really need to do is commit to one meatless meal each week. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite beef or chicken dish. It’s simply a commitment to reduce your meat consumption and opt for a vegetarian meal instead. Our Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce should get you started…
Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
- 1 Tbsp expeller-pressed canola oil
- 6 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 1 (6-oz) bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 (15-oz) can enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot)
- ½ cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
- 8 (8-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 minutes. Add the spinach, cumin, and chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 3 more minutes. Transfer the cooked veggies to a large bowl and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. When cool, stir in 1 cup of the cheese, beans, corn, and cilantro until well combined.
Meanwhile, place the enchilada sauce and pumpkin in a medium-size bowl and whisk until well combined. Spread ½ cup of the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
To assemble the enchiladas, place ½ cup of filling down the center of each flour tortilla. Roll up tightly, tucking in the ends, and place seam side down in the dish. Cover evenly with the remainder of the sauce, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese, and bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Serves 8. 310 calories, 41g carbs, 16g protein, 11g fat, 730mg sodium, 8g fiber
About the Author
Liz Weiss, MS, RD and Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD are The Meal Makeover Moms, and together, the dietitian duo is on a mission to help busy families eat better. For more recipes, check out their new cooking app, Meal Makeovers, their cookbook, No Whine with Dinner, read their blog, Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen, or listen to their free radio podcast, Cooking with the Moms.