Spring chicken and vegetable soup recipe
Dakota Mackey / The Daily Meal

Lighten up! It’s spring!

Sunnier days ahead
Spring chicken and vegetable soup recipe
Dakota Mackey / The Daily Meal

As spring emerges and the world continues to heal, our cooking lightens and our commitment to exercise deepens — in theory, at least. At the very least, sunshine and warm breezes can’t help but brighten our attitude this time of year.

What's in Season in Spring: Asparagus, Spinach, Peas and More

Sheet-pan dinners never get old; they continue to inspire and save time on cleanup. Many of these meals, however, have more oil than I prefer. Luckily, steam can be as moisture-enhancing as oil and fat.

In the fish and veggie sheet-pan recipe that follows, I steam seasoned zucchini and shallots in the microwave — no added fat required — before roasting with haddock and tomatoes. The fish only needs a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for flavor and moisture. The dish yields a hearty portion of veggies and protein with plenty of nutrition and a super-modest calorie count.

Another spring trick I like to employ is using flavor-packed hot liquids to help stave off cravings and snack attacks. A nice cup of tea or a mug of broth can work wonders.

Similarly, soup is more than a winter meal, as proven by the verdant recipe below. You can create a flavorful, rich broth by gently cooking chicken in water laced with store-bought chicken base and seasonings. Poaching chicken in broth yields both a rich potage and a moist, low-fat protein to use in soups, salads and sandwiches. In the recipe that follows, I add the chicken back to the broth to enjoy as a main course with plenty of spring green vegetables and tender, garden-fresh herbs.

Of course, a mug of broth is no match for the breakfast scones and muffins at the local coffee shop but everything in moderation. On those days when I’m feeling virtuous, there’s nothing more satisfying than yogurt and fruit made hearty with muesli cereal. Prepped overnight, it’s a grab-and-go way to start the day.

Think of it as a warm-weather alternative to hot oatmeal or a fresh take on overnight oats. Tailor the fruit additions to the season or opt for frozen fruit to save prep work. You can even turn the bowl into dessert by adding a scoop of sorbet or spooning a little warm maple syrup or caramel sauce over the top.

Get outside. Eat thoughtfully. We can do this.

Sheet Pan Haddock with Fresh Herbs and Paper-Thin Veggies

Sheet Pan Haddock with Paper Thin Veggies Recipe

Dakota Mackey / The Daily Meal

There's nothing better than a sheetpan dinner, and this haddock and vegetable recipe is not only quick but also fresh and light. 

For the Sheet Pan Haddock with Fresh Herbs and Paper-Thin Veggies recipe, click here.

Spring Chicken and Greens Soup

Spring chicken and greens soup

Dakota Mackey / The Daily Meal

If you think soup is only for winter, this recipe will have you rethink that. Filled with chicken and spring vegetables it is verdant, tasty and quick.

For the Spring Chicken and Greens Soup recipe, click here.

Overnight Breakfast Bowl

Overnight breakfast bowl recipe

Dakota Mackey / The Daily Meal

There are plenty of overnight breakfast recipes, but most are based on oats. This one mixes together yogurt, meusli and fruit for a filling and nutritious combo that is perfect for a grab-and-go morning bite.

For the Overnight Breakfast Bowl recipe, click here.

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