I was back at Melissa’s Produce for another yummy food event this week. Melissa Lanz, founder of The Fresh 20, took us on her life journey of eating frozen dinners as a child (mostly Salisbury steak because of the brownie desserts), to developing a method of eliminating processed foods, dairy, sugar and gluten from her diet that keeps flavor and variety. The Fresh 20 was born!
Melissa is a former Internet marketing executive who quit her day job to promote health and happiness as daily habits. Her company, The Fresh 20 is an industry leader in healthy meal planning and wellness programs. She and her team eliminate the consumption of processed foods at the family table. Having kids, she was very concerned that they get healthy, nutritious meals that feed their growing bodies. Even now, as teenage boys, she says they volunteer to abstain from dairy for a week or lower their gluten intake if they’re not feeling their best. Pretty impressive, I think!
Although I do eat dairy-organic Greek yogurt, some goat cheese and the occasional scoop of artisan ice cream, much of how I eat is very much what she and her Fresh 20 plans tout. She, also, is not a big salt user, adding it sparingly to just bring out the flavor of the dishes, not to overpower them. People add their own amounts afterwards, which makes sense.
Melissa produced a cookbook a few years ago and has since perfected her online digital platform. I was happy to see there were many different ways to customize the suggested plans. The classic plan includes meat, then there are vegetarian, gluten-free, plans for one, paleo, vegan, dairy-free and even kosher. That pretty much covers everyone on the planet!
Melissa’s Produce supplied her with their fantastic Perfect Sweet Onions, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Dutch Yellow Potatoes, Meyer Lemons, Cilantro, Peeled Garlic, Fresh Ginger, Steamed Lentils, Cooked Quinoa, Steamed Six Bean Medley, Mint, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, Kale and Carrots.
This is the menu she presented to us:
The recipe I want to share with you is one she demoed. It’s one of her favorites and is perfect as is, or adding your favorite protein to. Don’t like kale? Throw in spinach, instead. Not an avocado fan? Make your own vinaigrette! I found it super tasty as is and when I make it, I’m going to grill some organic chicken to add into it, with a sprinkle of chopped almonds.
The Fresh 20 has introduced their meal plans to over 150,000 families across North America and beyond. At a time in our society when processed foods have become the go to meal in busy households, Melissa created The Fresh 20 to show families and individuals that there is a better alternative that is easier, healthier, and often less expensive. Melissa has been featured in Prevention, The New York Times, InStyle, USA Today, Family Circle, Working Mother, Parents, and a contributor to Shape Magazine. Her best selling, The Fresh 20 Cookbook (Harper Collins/William Morrow ) continues to promote nutritional education and healthy cooking.