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5 Ways to add more freshness to your meals

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

Liven up your food

These days we’re all so busy working and running our kids between activities that sometimes our meals can suffer. But don’t fall into a dinnertime rut.
spinach and quinoa salad with grapefruit

It’s easy to add more freshness to your meals and liven up suppertime. Find out how with these five easy ideas.

Whether you're a slave to convenience food or seem to make the same few things week after week, we could all use a few ideas to freshen up our staid dishes. From adding fruit in unexpected places to using more fresh herbs, there are plenty of ways to add more freshness to your meals. To get inspiration, we turned to the ultimate source for creative, fresh ideas: Pinterest.

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Add fruit

One of the easiest ways to add freshness to your meals is to incorporate fruit. It's unexpected in savory dishes and adds beautiful brightness to any meal. Try livening up your usual salad with seasonal fruit, like the spinach and quinoa salad with grapefruit shown above from the blog Skinny Taste, or this spinach and strawberry salad from The Yummy Life. For a gorgeous presentation as well as great flavor, nothing beats this beautiful vertical pear salad from The Novice Chef.

Watermelon and feta is a classic combination in which the sweet, refreshing watermelon pairs beautifully with the salty, savory watermelon. Gourmantine stacks cubes of feta and watermelon to create a visually stunning cube that will be sure to impress guests. For a lovely entree, try these scallops with arugula and grapefruit from Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide.

Creative containers

A fun and creative way to add freshness to your meals is to use fruits and vegetables as containers instead of bread or bowls. Cucumbers make a popular vessel on Pinterest. Take these cucumber cups from Optimal Body Balance, these pretty cucumber bites with garlic herb filling from Annie's Eats and these cute turkey cucumber wheels from Cooking With My Kid.

Tomatoes also make great containers with a fresh taste and pretty presentation. Try these oven-roasted tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese from Food & Wine or these tomatoes stuffed with rice from Easy Living.

Fresh herbs and spices

Nothing adds freshness to meals like fresh herbs and spices. To make sure you always have them on hand, check out this great idea from The Gardener's Eden to freeze chopped, fresh herbs in olive oil, butter, broth or water (image shown right by The Gardener's Eden). Lunch in a Box offers a great idea for freezing chopped green onions in plastic drink bottles, which make for handy dispensers.

Fresh herbs add zing to marinades, sauces and salad dressings. For inspiration, look to this fresh minted chimichurri sauce for shrimp (it would also be great on steak or chicken!) from Everyday Maven, this fresh ginger dressing from Tasty Kitchen and this cilantro-lime dressing from Laylita's Recipes.

Learn how to eat natural every day >>

freezed chopped, fresh herbs

Eat your vegetables

Vegetables are a surefire way to add freshness to any meal, whether you are dressing up a frozen or prepared meal or just getting out of a dinnertime funk. But veggies don't need to be boring — here are some great ideas for ways to dress up those nutrients!

Instead of pasta, try this gorgeous zucchini "pasta" from Whole Living, or this spaghetti squash "spaghetti" from Martha Stewart. For a healthy take on French fries, try making them with other vegetables besides potatoes for an even fresher taste. Check out these oven-baked zucchini fries from Food and Fun Cafe and these baked asparagus fries from Spoon Fork Bacon.

Add fresh salsa

A simple way to amp up the freshness factor of any meal is to add fresh salsa. Besides eating it with chips, fresh salsa is great spooned on top of grilled meats, served alongside seafood and accompanying roasted vegetables. It will dress up a prepared meal like nothing else.

For true fresh taste, step away from the bottle and make your own using the best seasonal produce available. For some creative ideas beyond the usual tomato, try this grilled corn, peach and basil salsa from How Sweet It Is, this sweet and spicy pineapple salsa from Eat Spin Run Repeat or this avocado and mango salsa from Pennies on a Platter.

More fresh ideas

Healthy dinner ideas for the busy girl
Fresh and fruity breakfast options for summer
5 Fresh herbs to grow in your kitchen

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