Spring has sprung and your daily meal plan may feel desperately in need of a spring cleaning. But this isn’t the “clean eating” plan you might be expecting—the one saturated with food restrictions and encouraged by diet culture. Instead, we’re focusing on an inclusive approach—reintroducing a handful of nourishing ingredients that, along with the warmer weather, are finally back on grocery shelves with a friendlier price tag.
Spring produce adds a refreshing and colorful crunch to almost any meal: Carrots, fennel, asparagus, spring greens, and strawberries are just a few examples of ingredients to enjoy this time of year. Adding color to your plate also boosts the nutritional content of your meal with a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Take full advantage! Add these spring-friendly recipes to your current meal and snack routines.
Pasta is a great addition to meals, as it offers a carbohydrate-rich pairing for any protein—chicken, meat, tofu—of your choice. When part of a balanced meal, carbohydrates support energy. Grain-based carbohydrates like pasta are also rich in B-vitamins, which play an essential role in your body’s metabolism. This recipe utilizes a creamy cashew sauce as a plant-based alternative to cheese. Sliced asparagus spears add color and a dose of fiber.
- 1 6-ounce box fettuccine, prepared al dente
- 3 stalks asparagus, cooked until tender and cut into one-inch pieces
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- To make the sauce, soak cashews in water for about 12 hours. Once drained thoroughly, add water, garlic, and salt, and blend until smooth.
- In a saucepan, bring sauce to a low simmer. Slowly mix in asparagus and pasta until the sauce is evenly distributed.
Spring Vegetable Soup
Soup is a great option for dance educators—not only can you pack in a plethora of nourishing ingredients, but you’ll also access a refreshing dose of hydration alongside your meals. This recipe highlights spring veggies, particularly scallions, fennel, and spring greens.
- 1/2 cup fennel, stalks removed and bulbs halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups vegetable stock (2 cups if you prefer an extra-creamy soup)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 large white potato, peeled and diced
- 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and chopped
- 1 cup spring greens, drained and chopped
- 1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- To roast fennel, preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss fennel halves in a bowl with olive oil until coated. Place them on a pan lined with parchment paper and roast for about 35–40 minutes, or until they cook through and begin caramelizing. Remove when done and allow to cool slightly before adding to puree.
- Bring stock to a boil in a large pot and add remaining vegetables (scallions, white potatoes, zucchini, and spring greens). Boil until tender, then let cool.
- In a blender, blend fennel and other veggies with vegetable oil and ginger until desired consistency is achieved.
- Serve warm or chilled. A chilled soup is extra versatile backstage.
Carrot Cake Muffins
Enjoy these muffins either as a breakfast or packable snack. The highlight for these muffins is carrots, which add a hefty dose of vitamin A to your day.
- 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry (or all-purpose) flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 2 medium, ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, finely grated
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, mix sugar and bananas until smooth. Continue to stir while adding eggs, vanilla, and oil.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Fold in carrots, distributing them evenly.
- Prepare muffin trays with liners or cooking spray and fill three-quarters of the way.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown.
Spring Snack Mix
A take on a classic trail mix, this fun addition is both nourishing and convenient for your busiest teaching days. Salty pretzels provide your body with quick energy and electrolytes, while the dried strawberries add a unique flavor profile with a punch of tartness.
- salted pretzels
- pumpkin seeds
- dried peaches
- coconut shavings
- freeze-dried strawberries
- Simply mix equal parts of all of your items together.
- If you prefer a sweeter trail mix, add extra dried fruit. For a crunchier mix, toss in a few more pretzels.