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How would you rate the quality of the food that you and your family consume on a daily basis? Do you pay attention to whether things are organic or free from GMOs? Do you buy local and seasonal produce? How much of your shopping list is processed food? These are all important questions to ask yourself. Below we’ve prepared a few great tips to help you raise the bar when it comes to the quality of your daily food intake.

1. Go to Farmers’ Markets

It’s actually easier than you think to find a farmers’ market near you and gain access to all of the best local and seasonal produce you need. These markets are jam-packed not just with fruits and vegetables, but also fresh meat, eggs, dairy and other homemade products like preserves, jams, pickles and more.

People tend to think that the farmers’ markets are always going to be more expensive than the supermarkets, but this just isn’t the case. Sure, there are some that are a little outlandish selling apple pies for $70 each, but that’s the typical picture of most markets. The key is when buying things that are in season. If you shop in season, your local farmers’ market is about the same in price, but far better in quality because the items have not travelled the huge distances that much supermarket produce does.

2. Cut Down on Processed Foods

Now, for some, the cutting out of processed food --- particularly those packed with refined sugar --- is a big ask. Why is that? Well, frankly a lot of processed food tastes so good, right? What’s more, it’s just instantly available or at most requires a quick blast in the microwave. In this sense, then, when we talk about improving on quality, we’re focusing on nutrition. Processed foods may give you a taste kick and a sugar injection, but they are just so bad for your health in the long term.

Switching to fresh, organic food, and taking greater charge of your home cooking will ensure you get more nutrients; less salt, fat and sugar, and give yourself a skill boost while you’re at it. Let’s face it, processed food is just lazy!

3. Focus on Freshness

If you want to get the most out of your food, the fresher the better. It’s not always a bad thing to make some food in a big batch and freeze it for later consumption. It’s not a practice that’s good for restaurants, but for home cooks it can work. But the food is just never as good the second or third time around as when it’s fresh.

Therefore, being smart with ingredients and cooking and eating fresh food that you don’t have to subsequently store, reheat or eat cold later will ensure that your daily diet is filled with the best-quality and tastiest foodstuffs.

4. Learn the Art of Seasoning

“The Castle” is a classic Aussie movie depicting suburban family life, and contains one memorable scene where an amazed father marvels at something his wife has done to the chicken they’re having for dinner. He remarks in astonishment, “it’s got something sprinkled on it.” His beaming wife answers, “Seasoning.” Yes, simple changes to the way you season food can make all the difference. Get into the cookery blogs and explore different herbs and spices to really make your cooking start to pop!

5. Ensure a Good Variety

Imagine that you prepare yourself a fresh chicken-salad sandwich for lunch one day. It’s so good that you decide to make it again the next day, and the next, and the next. After a week of these sandwiches, do they still taste good? They’re likely not bad, but nowhere near as good as that first day. Variety in your diet will ensure that you enjoy the particular qualities of every dish you prepare.

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