The Spring Swap

Via Pinterest

There are so many diet trends going around these days, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s truly good for you and what’s just a fad. However, one thing’s for certain: you can never go wrong by eating more fruits and vegetables. I always get so excited when spring time rolls back around because with it comes so many more delicious produce options. It’s almost overwhelming. One of my favorite ways to eat more fruits and vegetables isn’t just making sure that I eat an apple for a snack, or salad with my dinner… I like to get creative and actually swap out ingredients and replace them with fruits and veggies. With a little creativity, you can cut out extra carbs and calories, all while adding beneficial nutrients and vitamins. Plus, it’s so delicious, you can hardly tell the difference. All of these swaps include nutritious, heart healthy options. Here are some of my favorite treats:

Swap your chips

Kale is having a big moment these days, and it’s no surprise why. One cup of raw kale has 33 calories, 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and the list goes on. Kale chips are great for satisfying a salty craving, and you can cater the recipe to your own taste as well. You should definitely make your own chips rather than buy them premade at a store, because they’re usually deep fried, or filled with preservatives. Plus, they’re so easy, there’s no excuse not to. These light and crispy chips can be enjoyed alone, or with a dip of your choice.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry (very dry) your kale and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the leaves. Top with salt and pepper to taste. You can also put red pepper flakes and Parmesan on it for an extra kick.

Swap your noodles

Zoodles: Not only is it a fun word, it’s also a delicious way to remove excess carbs and calories from your pasta dish. And, you’ll never notice a difference. Using a few zucchini, and a julienne tool, you can cut thin strips of the vegetable and add it in with your recipe just as you would with normal noodles. There are so many fun looking recipes here that allow you to get creative with your meals. You can also swap your noodles with other veggies such as spinach, or thinly sliced fresh green beans.

Swap your ice cream

We all have a sweet tooth every now and then. One of my go-to recipes when hunger strikes is banana “ice cream” made with frozen bananas. Peel two bananas and put them in the freezer for at least 1 hour or even overnight. Next, you put them in thblender and blend until smooth. That’s all! The bananas will melt a little bit and eventually have the exact consistency of ice cream. You can add other fresh fruits to your mixture, such as raspberries or strawberries, or make it more savory with cocoa powder or cinnamon.

A 23 year-old midwesterner living in sunny Southwest Florida.

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