For many, spring is an opportunity to hit refresh on many aspects of life, including what you eat. Rather than instituting a restrictive diet that forces you to cut back on your favorite snacks and dishes, consider making simple changes that can go a long way so you can enjoy the flavors of the season without sacrificing taste or eating less.
Fresh flavors abound during spring, and you can enjoy nature’s bounty while avoiding hidden sugars by selecting high-fiber, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. For example, a single avocado contains 10 grams of dietary fiber in addition to healthy fat. Consider a menu comprised of recipes like Egg-Filled Avocado with Prosciutto, Avocado Kale Berry Smoothie Bowl and Thai Peanut Buddha Bowl.
Thai Peanut Buddha Bowl
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Olive oil spray
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (12 ounces total)
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons hot chili sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons hot water
4 cups baby spinach
1 ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, cut into noodle shapes
2 carrots, cut into noodle shapes
2 radishes, thinly sliced
8 sprigs cilantro
Heat oven to 400 F.
Coat small skillet with olive oil spray. Add chicken to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes, turning once or twice to brown chicken. Slide into oven and bake 6- 8 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in center when sliced with a knife. Set aside to rest 5 minutes then shred.
To make dressing: In large bowl, mix peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and hot water. Whisk well until smooth.
Divide spinach and avocado among four bowls. Top with chicken, zucchini, carrots, radishes and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
Tip: If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can achieve the same effect by using a vegetable peeler to shave thin ribbons. You can also use a mandoline vegetable slicer then use a knife to cut the strips into thinner noodle-like strips.
Nutritional information per serving: 10.8 g net carbs; 427 calories; 18.1 g total carbs; 7.3 g fiber; 21.8 z protein; 30.7 g fat.
Find more inspiration, tips and recipes by seeking out additional resources like “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook for Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle.” The book, filled with 100 whole-food recipes and simple solutions for living a low-carb lifestyle, contains a variety of meal plans, low-carb takes on classic comfort foods and tips for creating a low-carb kitchen. Readers can also learn about Atkins 100, a flexible and personalized low-carb lifestyle program.
Egg-Filled Avocado with Prosciutto
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
6 ounces watercress or baby spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 large eggs
4 ripe Hass avocados, halved lengthwise and pitted
olive oil spray
8 slices (about 4 ounces) prosciutto
Place the watercress or baby spinach in large bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss well. Divide among four small plates.
In large skillet, heat 2 inches water over medium heat until bubbles cover bottom and sides of pan. Crack eggs into small bowl (do not use eggs with broken yolks). When a few bubbles have broken surface of water, gently pour each egg into pan, leaving room between them.
Cook eggs, without stirring, until whites are just set and yolks are still runny, 2-3 minutes. Use rubber spatula to gently release eggs from bottom of pan, if necessary. Using slotted spoon, remove eggs from water and drain on paper towels.
Place poached egg in each avocado half. Coat medium skillet with olive oil spray. Heat skillet over medium heat and add prosciutto. Cook until crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer two avocado-filled egg halves to each plate and serve immediately with two slices prosciutto.
Nutritional information per serving: 4.1g net carbs; 422 calories; 16 g total carbs; 11.9 g fiber; 18.5 g protein; 34 g fat.
Avocado Kale Berry Smoothie Bowl
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
1/3 cup plain protein powder
1 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup water
1/2 ripe Hass avocado
1 cup kale leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon stevia (sugar substitute)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries such as blackberries, strawberries or raspberries
2 tablespoons almond or walnut halves
2 tablespoons chia seeds
In blender, blend protein powder, yogurt, water, avocado, kale, mint and stevia until smooth then divide between two bowls.
Sprinkle berries, nuts and chia seeds over smoothies. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving: 12.5 g net carbs; 356 calories; 24.2 g total carbs; 11.8 g fiber; 32.2 g protein; 15.6 g fat.