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.
For example, Atkins offers a long-term, healthy lifestyle featuring a balanced approach of high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats, while focusing on reducing levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and “hidden sugars,” which are the carbohydrates that convert to sugar in the body – you can’t see them but your body does.
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
2skinless, boneless chicken breasts (12 ounces total)
1/2cup peanut butter
3tablespoons coconut milk
1tablespoon fish sauce
2teaspoons hot chili sauce
2garlic cloves, minced
1tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1tablespoon sesame oil
3tablespoons hot water
4cups baby spinach
1ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
1medium zucchini, cut into noodle shapes
2carrots, cut into noodle shapes
2radishes, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
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
6ounces watercress or baby spinach
2tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4ripe Hass avocados, halved lengthwise and pitted
olive oil spray
8slices (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
1cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1/2ripe Hass avocado
1cup kale leaves
2tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1teaspoon stevia (sugar substitute)
1/2cup fresh or frozen berries such as blackberries, strawberries or raspberries
2tablespoons almond or walnut halves
2tablespoons 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.