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Healthy Foods: Fresher is Better

March 30, 2011

In today’s world there is too much emphasis placed on food being quick and easy.  Fast food and frozen dinners might be simple, but these meals can lack a lot of nutritional value.  These foods are typically loaded with salt and preservatives and are nowhere near equivalent to a healthy home cooked meal.  While everybody enjoys convenience, it’s important to balance user friendliness with freshness.

I’m writing this article to help motivate everyone to eat fresher food, but also to make some recommendations when you’re looking for something quick and easy that is much better than a burger and fries.

Fresher is Better

Fresh food is delicious.  It would be kind of hard for anyone to compare a frozen meal to a fresh one.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients label on a TV dinner?  It’s an essay that takes up half the box and is filled with words that are hard to pronounce.

The way to shop

When you go shopping, make sure most of the items you grab are coming from the produce area.  Even if I have no specific meals in mind I always grab onions, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and yams.  To me, these are staple ingredients that I can always cook with no matter what.  If I got stuck, I could always sauté up every single one of these vegetables in olive oil, add some delicious sauce, and put it over brown rice – delicious stir fry in about 20 minutes.

Look for color

Foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants are rich in color.  Blueberries, strawberries, spinach, yams, peppers, etc are bright in color and will make your body healthier.  When you look at a meal that is cooking up on your stovetop and you can pick out multiple colors, you’re looking good!  If something you’re eating seems a little dull, try to add some color.  For instance, take your bowl of Cheerios in the morning and pile some blueberries on top.  Instead of having a fried egg, add some fresh tomato and garlic and crack your scrambled eggs on top of that.  Perfect!

Homemade Healthy Pumpkin Soup

Leftovers

Leftovers are your second reward for spending time in the kitchen.  Since you’re already putting in the effort, make too much.  The dinner you spent time making was so delicious that you’ll be excited to have it for lunch.  You know how sometimes things taste better the second time around?  Maybe that warm orzo pasta salad with corn, tomatoes, beans and a vinaigrette dressing was tasty last night, but today at work it’s cold, refreshing and energizes you for the afternoon.  When I take my leftovers in to work, it’s not like I’m jealous of the meal my co-workers just purchased, they are jealous of me!

Variety

One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients of life is to have variety in your diet.  If you’re always eating the same thing, I can assure you that your diet is not ideal.  Buy a cookbook, get different ideas, try new foods and your taste buds and body will benefit.

Quick and easy home cooked meals

Cooking a meal shouldn’t seem like an elaborate task.  You’re not making Thanksgiving dinner, just a simple meal.  Coming back to a previous example, I could whip up a healthy, delicious stir-fry faster than you could go out and get through the drive through window.  In addition to stir-fry, pasta is quick and easy.  Boil up some whole-wheat pasta, and while you’re doing that spice up your store bought tomato sauce by sautéing up some onions, garlic and favorite veges before adding the sauce.

Healthier Fast Food

You won’t find many healthy options at McDonalds or similar restaurants, but if you’re really in a bind, there are better options.  If you opt for a salad, that is better, but the actual lettuce greens are Iceberg lettuce and are not nutrient rich and the ranch dressing is not healthy either.  You’re probably just as well off with a grilled chicken sandwich.  In my ideal world, I find a burrito shop for an energy loaded hand-held meal.  Grilled chicken, beans, fresh salsa and lettuce is an excellent combo and it costs less than if you had to go out and buy all of the ingredients yourself!

About the Author

Cooper is passionate about health, fitness & blogging. When he’s not working out he writes about about SmartLipo cooking and a myriad of other topics. He’s also active with Sono Bello on Twitter and Sono Bello on Facebook.

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