Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

 I’m so tired of ______ (insert food you've been eating incessantly for the past few months). That’s pretty much the theme of those purgatory-esque transition periods between seasons, like the upcoming weeks of phasing out of winter and into spring, when there are no new foods to get excited about. If you’re already experiencing winter food woes, we've got a meal plan to start satisfying your cravings for warm weather flavors. We pinky promise there’s no winter squash, soup, or sweet potatoes.

Hannah Burkhalter
January 18, 2017

Each season is known for and shaped by certain foods. Summertime brings the best tomatoes and berries, and would it even be fall if we didn’t use pumpkin in every baked good, pasta, and latte?

But there are two “sub-seasons” (as I like to call them) that are dark, bleak moments in the year for food lovers like myself. September falls right between summer and fall, and by the time we reach February and March, it feels like winter should be long over... but it's definitely not quite spring. All kinds of transition can be tough, but the struggle brought on by repetitive meals and a lack of new produce? That struggle is quite real.

Maybe I’m being dramatic, but once February rolls around, I’ve had my fill of soup, stew, spaghetti squash, and sweet potatoes. Months of stick-to-your-bones dinners really can wear a girl down. Dreams of spring produce begin dance in my head, bringing with them the promise of fresher, brighter, more vibrant meals…

But it’s just not time yet. Sure, you can purchase plenty of different fruits and vegetable year-round thanks to our modernized food system, but in terms of farmer's market finds, the real goods are nowhere to be found. Not unitl late March. 

If you’ve found yourself with similar feelings, there are ways to cope with these treacherous sub-seasons. Take a break from what you’ve been eating (every freaking day throughout the past 4 months) and make a meal that satisfies your craving for something a little bit more… springy. Here’s a mini meal plan that feels warmer, but uses produce widely available during the transition period. Be free from the blues of prolonged winter eats.

Breakfast

Berry Green Smoothie image

Photo: Colin Price; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Have a smoothie. A fruity, fresh beverage in the morning will leave you bright and energized. Use produce that's in season like spinach and citrus, along with frozen fruits and bananas, which are available year round. 

Lunch 

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Make vibrant, crunchy tacos with in-season red cabbage or make chicken salad with tzatziki sauce for a lighter, greener feel. If you'd rather skip the cucumber for the tzatziki sauce, try celery or apple. For a change of pace, make a creamy, vibrant pasta sauce out of spinach and avocado.

Snacks

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

Spice up your yogurt with a flavorful, textured granola, or add in whatever dried fruits you crave and eat it by the handful. Take advange of the freezer section; edamame make an excellent satifying snack that is nothing close to the holiday baked goods and brittle you finally finished off. If you want to go full-on spring, dip whatever veggies or crackers you can like in a super herby, delightfully fresh green dip.

Dinner 

Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Claire Spollen

A lemony, roasted fish fillet over couscous is satisfying enough for a chilly night, but lighter than a casserole or stew. Catch a break from the over-done, dusty winter stew flavor profile (characterized by chili powder, onion, and garlic) with a citrusy-herbed chicken dish or utilize canned mango in our super fun and fresh spring roll recipe.

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