About Me

Welcome to Healthy Fitness Meals! I’m Rena, the creator behind this hub of delicious recipes crafted with real ingredients. My dishes dispel the myth that healthy eating means sacrificing flavor.

rena in a white shirt holding a bowl of strawberries

Originally from Sierra Leone 🇸🇱 in West Africa, I’ve called Detroit, Michigan, home since 1999. After earning my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Michigan, I embarked on a different path than I initially planned: sharing my passion for wholesome cooking.

I’ve always loved food; my fondest memories of my childhood in Africa were skipping the school lunch and instead opting for street food from the locals at the school gates. My own journey into the kitchen started when I was still a teen, at 17 years old, learning traditional recipes from my mom and grandma, particularly those rooted in Mediterranean cuisine😍. From hummus to Lebanese rice, my grandmother’s wisdom and love for cooking shaped my culinary identity. She taught me that cumin makes just about any dish delicious and two secrets for making the best tabbouleh. (1. Use loads of cherry tomatoes instead of the larger ones. 2. Adding pomegranate seeds guarantees you’ll want to go back for seconds.)

rena in a pink shirt holding a white bowl that has tabbouleh.

Family still plays a central role in both my life and my cooking. Healthy Fitness Meals was originally born out of an Instagram account, where I began to share healthy recipes while I was working to get back in shape after giving birth to my youngest child. Today, with more than four decades of cooking experience and five busy children who each have their own favorite dishes, mealtime is still an adventure. I love developing and sharing new recipes with all of you.

All my recipes are reviewed and approved by a Registered Dietician, Ella Davar.

Thank you for joining me on this culinary journey. You can follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, and you can always contact me here.

~ Rena

Quick Favorites From Rena of Healthy Fitness Meals

My Favorite Recipes

My Favorite Food

My all-time favorites are African dishes, like peanut butter soup that you serve with rice, Jollof rice, and dishes made with palm oil, like cassava leaf. And anything spicy—I’m addicted, even though my kids can’t handle the heat!

My Kids’ Favorite Recipes:

My Least-Favorite Thing to Eat:

I don’t ever deep fry anything. I am just not fond of it, but I do love my Air Fryer and think it is a lifesaver.

Non-Cooking Favorites:

  • Reading, especially historical romance
  • Swimming and the ocean
  • Languages; I speak four: Arabic, English, African (Krio), and French
  • Family values and traditions are very important to me, and I try hard to teach my kids what I was taught: Respect above all else.

My Favorite Lebanese and Mediterranean Dishes

The very first dishes my grandma taught me to cook were Lebanese and Mediterranean ones related to my culture. Growing up I loved being in the kitchen helping her and always so eager to learn. These are still some of my favorites today:

  • Chicken Kafta was my grandmother’s favorite dish, as well as my uncle’s, so she wanted to teach me how to cook it so that the recipe would stay alive in our family for generations.
  • Lentil soup has been a long-standing favorite in my family. Like my grandma, I always add some carrots to it. She said to throw them in for great eyesight; I like the sweetness they bring to the dish.
  • Beef Kafta, a Lebanese plate, always reminds me of when I used to pull up my chair and beg her to help roll them into logs or onto the skewers. It’s traditionally made with fresh parsley, but like my grandma, I make it without. (She always said including the herb was a recipe for heartburn.)

Media Mentions Of My Recipes

My work and recipe have been featured all over, here are a few:

rena in a blue shirt looking down at laptop.

As Seen In: The Huffington Post, Inc, TNW, and ABC. I was also named the top food influencer by Get Hyped.

As Seen In

Recent Recipes