I've always believed in eating healthy, fresh foods that deliver valuable nutrients and minerals to my body while also sustaining me and keeping me satisfied. To me, the key has always been to treat it as a lifestyle and not as a "diet," which usually assumes some sort of negative connotation. That said, there's always some sort of temptation to fall into easy traps that many food companies try to lead consumers into - think the convenient, easy foods marketed as "healthy" and "quick." While I like a tasty breakfast bar as much as the next person, I also recognize it's not actually all that healthy at all - and it's certainly not fresh.
That's what makes healthy eating so appealing to me. Fresh foods are not just better tasting, but better for the body as well. And by adopting a few simple, innovative methods, I've found it's really easy to incorporate fresh foods into my diet every single day. To start, my fridge is always stocked with a variety of herbs, usually chopped and ready to add to everything from leafy green salads to homemade soups. When I have some time, I mix them with Greek yogurt or sour cream for a cool vegetable dip or salad topping.
Vegetables are fresh-diet staples, of course, but there's no denying that whole routine can get a little boring. I like to shake things up by adding a variety of spice blends to the meal. Steamed vegetables taste great with things like chili powder, turmeric, paprika or black pepper. The aforementioned herbs - think parsley, dill and tarragon - also liven up the plate and make simple foods more flavorful. Roasting vegetables is another method I love: It brings out the flavor in a way that steaming and sautéing simply can't, and it's so easy to get creative with things like fennel and squash. Roasted veggies also taste more intense with garnishes like lemon, cumin seeds and mint. The options are endless!
I'm also big on healthful smoothies - they're fun to prepare, offer great nutritional value and are so much better than sugar-laden fruit juices. Adding things like ground flax seeds, coconut water and agave nectar can really dress up the beverage and increase its health benefits even more.
My most innovative practice is also probably the most old-school of them all: I shop from the source. I love spending time at farmer's markets and picking the freshest, brightest and most seasonal foods available, whether it's a selection of succulent summer berries or an array of crisp apples in autumn. With so many opportunities to eat clean and so many benefits to eating fresh, there's no excuse not to take advantage and reap them all!
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