Turns out your mother was right…Fresh is always better when it comes to food.  But you didn’t need your mother to tell you that…simply biting into a fresh piece of fruit or vegetable hits the spot!  To me, fresh food is a party for my taste buds…a joy to my palate…Everyday I snack on fresh vegetables and fruits as well as dried fruits such as appricots, cranberries and cherries, which are quite easy to wrap in a ziplock and take on the go as a great snack (I enjoy it paired with dry roasted nuts for my afternoon snack). 

I have at least 3-4 vegetables a day and they are always FRESH.  I love the taste as well as the health benefits of dark leafy greens such as collards, kale, and swiss char…these are 3 of my favorites and I have substituted these delicious vegetables in place of my romaine/iceberg lettuce on salads and in sandwhiches and wraps.   I have recently acquired a strong taste for tomatoes…all kinds, shapes, and sizes…(as long as they are fresh and ripe) from Roma to Cherry tomatoes–they add the perfect pungent taste to my dish.  Other vegetables that I have recently added into my diet on a daily basis are carrots, onions, peas, and sweet potatoes; these are incredibly tasty and I love the way they taste when paired together.  I try to prepare each of my meals at home…I eat my breakfast at home before I leave for work…then pack my lunch everyday to take to the office…and finally return home for the evening to cook something tender, juicy, and of course, FRESH…I stear clear of packaged goods, which are full of high fructose corn syrup,sodium, additives and chemicals; I try to follow the saying, “If your grandmother wouldn’t have recognized it—you shouldn’t be eating it.”  Moreover, when eating out at a salad bar, Iavoid anything creamy or glistening–mainly because I am lactose and glutten intollerent, therefore these dishes always somehow find a way to sneak a bit of dairy or glutten into it.  However, for those of you who do not have these intollerences, stearing clear of these unhealthy fatty dishes can wreck havok to your health.  These usually incorporate the unrealthy and cheap fats–instead sprinkle a handful of walnuts, which have omega- 3 fatty acids and almonds, which contain arginine to help keep your arteries strong, onto your dish and top it with some health olive oil and balsamic dressing.

Take a closer look at your family recipes—how can you tweak these to make healthier versions?  For instance, adding brown rice and whole grain pastas as well as incorporating more vegetables into each meal.  When preparing macaroni and cheese, add some antioxidant rich onions, or a combination of carrots and green peas, or chick peas to the mix.  Side Note: When preparing homemade macaroni and cheese ask your local butcher for the leftover cheese rinds at the deli then toss them into the whole wheat pasta on the stove and wholla!  This trick can also be used to toss into stew, chilli and soup.

One of the greatest benefits of eating fresh foods is the fiber, which is filling- and the soluble form- in beans, fruits and vegetables can lower cholesterol.  Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day; start by slowly incorporating more fiber rich foods such as oatmeal to your family’s diet. 

Overall, I find that sticking to the natural, fresh foods satisfies my palate and makes me feel my best.  There is nothing like a cool cucumber salad in the summer, a cool carrot soup in the spring, baked kale chips in the winter and pumpkin risotto in the fall…whatever season it is—treat yourself to a fresh meal—I promise it will beyond satisfy you and your palate.

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