Healthy Food

Make Eating Healthy A Family Routine

Kids are known for engaging in somewhat risky behaviors. They jump from places most parents feel are too high or run headlong into a bustling crowd without concern. As parents, these are the moments we prefer to avoid. But one situation where we might like for our kids to venture out and take a risk is with what they are willing to eat. Often times it seems like getting them to eat a healthy lunch is just a dream.

 With one in four people admitting to eating fast food on a daily basis and 52% believing that doing taxes is easier than eating healthy, there is clearly an uphill battle when it comes to setting a good example for our kids.*

With all the running around from activity to activity it’s no wonder people settle for what’s fast and easy. But don’t cave in to the pressure of time and eat on the run. What if it really is possible to take your family out for a convenient, healthy lunch – one with less fat and sugar while still full of taste? It isn’t like finding a unicorn, such meals do exist! Eating healthy can happen, you simply have to know where to look. And if you make it a routine and a behavior  you model for them, it’s likely to stick.

It’s no longer out of the norm for restaurants that typically provide high calorie, low nutrition meals to place “healthy” items on the kids menu. But when they are side-by-side with the temptation of tasty, artery-clogging meals, what good does it really do? And how much of a rut do we really want to stay in by ordering those meals? There are plenty of restaurants that carry a menu full of healthy choices and fresh ingredients without so much sugar and fat.

You want to break free, to encourage your kids to try something new. Yes, it’s hard to convince them they can enjoy a healthy lunch just as much as their usual burgers and fries, but have faith in yourself. And give your kids a little credit. Once they’ve tasted the flavors you can find in various pastas, salads, and sandwiches made with fresh, healthy ingredients, their bodies, and their taste buds, will adjust to the new norm.

Now, picture your family in a restaurant where you can grab a quick bite in the midst of your busy lifestyle or you enjoy a leisurely dining experience when the time is right. Finding a place that becomes your dining out standard makes life easier. With an ability to satisfy a variety of tastes, such a restaurant can become a part of your routine without putting you in a rut. Let the place adapt to your pace and desires and soon your family will be eating a healthy lunch or a tasty, fresh dinner without stress.

 Encourage your kids to break free from the traditional kids menu and allow them to take a risk by eating healthy meals full of flavor. You’ll feel like you’re jumping from boring to exceptional and running headlong into a new adventure. Now that’s a behavior we all want to experience!



Apple Cider and Strudel

Fall in Love with the Flavors and Aromas of Autumn

Hear the crunch of the leaves and feel the crisp clean air and you know fall has arrived. It’s an invigorating time of year that holds the promise of cooler weather, holidays, and discovering fresh new tastes. These are the days to stop in to your local coffee shop before you tour the markets in your community. These are the days for adventure. These are the days to fall in love with the flavors and aromas of Autumn.

Each morning has promise, and each day has inspiration if you know where to look. But sight isn’t the only sense that can detect these things, let your taste buds go on an adventure with fall foods that have a most tantalizing aroma and taste. The smell of pumpkin is crisp and a bit sweet – the flavor is mild with a hint of spice. The familiar aroma of apples becomes more exciting when sprinkled with cinnamon.

These seasonal flavors have become favorites for a reason. They evoke memories of childhood or family gatherings. They provide the promise of a busy, but exciting, time of year. The short-lived but enjoyable appearance of certain fall foods and seasonings generates an urgency to sample such treats. The subtlety of earthy pumpkin spice is no exception.

While they are a favorite for carving, pumpkins are for more than decoration. It seems pumpkin spice is the flavor-du-jour. Nowhere is it more beloved than in muffins and cakes, but it’s now abundant in coffees too. Adding a dash of pumpkin elevates your latte to a subtly sweeter level with just enough spice to keep it interesting.  Grab a cup of pumpkin spice latte from your favorite coffee shop and sip on it as you sort through gourds at a local farm – what a dream!

Not a fan of pumpkin spice but would love to get into the swing of autumn? Apples are a wondrous selection this time of year. Nothing says “good morning” or tops off a meal better than a piece of delicious apple strudel. Strudel is a traditional Austrian layered pastry with filling that became popular in the 18th century. The apple strudel is one of the most enjoyed versions of this treat. Try it with a mug of hot apple cider and you’ll swear you’re in an orchard.

Step away from the ordinary and into the delectable experience of fall’s unique flavors. Whether it’s sipping a pumpkin spice latte, or eating a sliver of delicious apple strudel with warm apple cider…relish a mouthful of Autumn and your taste buds will fall in love.




Pasta – The Food That Plays Well With Others

There are so many days that seem to be filled with indecision. Often, too many choices can lead to a sort of mental block. When that happens while trying to decide what you’d like for lunch, your stomach may begin to growl and you might experience a light-headed feeling before finally figuring out what to have. That’s when the answer should become abundantly clear – pasta.

Why pasta you ask? If one thing’s for certain, it’s that pasta is a dish with wide appeal and impressive versatility. With so many folks trying desperately to cling to a low-carb (which often turns into a no-carb) diet, pasta may have fallen by the wayside…but don’t abandon this go-to meal. There are so many fresh, healthy ingredients that can be part of your pasta dish. From fresh classics like basil pesto pasta and spaghetti carbonara to whole wheat or even quinoa pastas topped with loads of fresh veggies, olive oil, and seasoning; there is something for everyone.

 Yes, your body can handle a little bit of pasta. Paired with fresh ingredients, it can be a healthy meal that keeps you fueled all day long. Your body needs carbohydrates to generate energy, and there are other healthy benefits to consuming pasta. Whole wheat pasta contains fiber and all forms have the minerals selenium and manganese. Selenium helps activate antioxidant enzymes and manganese can help regulate blood sugar and aid in metabolizing carbohydrates.* Add loads of fresh vegetables and lean meats to your pasta and you have a healthy, balanced meal. Can you imagine any other food that works so well with meat, seafood, and just about any vegetable mixed right in? From shrimp or chicken to broccoli and peppers, pasta is a food that easily plays well with others.

We all like for life to be simplified, right? We love the familiar, yet we still crave adventure. Is it possible to experience both? It is. The next time you can’t determine what to eat for lunch, let pasta be the choice of the day. Dare to mix it up with as many toppings as you can imagine. Vary your sauce choices. Live a little and be free from the lunchtime mental block. Ease your mind, fuel your body, and treat your taste buds.


*Sylvie Tremblay, MSc

April 2015


Salads with personality

Getting to Know Salads With Personality

Most people grew up with their only exposure to the concept of ‘salad’ being the mixture of lettuce and vegetables their family served with dinner. In the US, this is the typical side salad you’d see at any diner or mom-and-pop restaurant along any road in the country. Many of us didn’t know a salad could be a whole meal until we started looking for healthier alternatives to fried food and fatty entrees.

 Today, salads have grown to contain an amazing array of ingredients that many would not have conceived of including even several years ago. If you have a taste for any specific spice or flavor combination, odds are you can find a salad to meet your needs. Since the advent of home refrigeration in 1913 and availability of ingredients no one had considered prior, people and restaurants have experimented with some truly creative salad recipes.

Dressings have become as important to the salad as the vegetables and meats used in the salad. We’re no longer limited to the same five dressings we had just thirty years ago. Now, dressings are as varied and plentiful as the people who buy them. Instead of plain old Italian dressing, you can use Caesar dressing on the same salad for a completely different experience. The great thing about salads is, there are no rules other than ‘eat what you like.’

The classic Caesar salad is among the more popular salads and is available nearly everywhere. It’s elegant in its simplicity, considering its short ingredients list. It has a bold and tangy flavor which comes primarily from the parmesan cheese. It’s a classic flavor combination that is enjoyed by millions on a daily basis.

Chicken is a major component of salads because it’s often associated with healthier lifestyles – that doesn’t mean it has to be boring, however. For people who like a spicier flavor profile, buffalo sauce is a popular addition to chicken. It can wake up a boring mixture of ingredients and add a little excitement to the palate.

If you like chicken and Indian or south Asian flavor, curry chicken salad may be your best option. Curry is arguably one of the healthier spice combinations and anything but boring. With its generous use of turmeric and coriander, it’s sure to kick up your lunchtime a notch.

We all tend to have our favorite salads, be it the tang of feta cheese in a greek salad or the familiar crunch of a typical house salad. Exploring unfamiliar flavors and combinations can introduce some new favorites into your healthy lifestyle and keep salads interesting for years to come.



Delectable Lunch

Travel the World With Ethnic Foods For Lunch

The opportunity to venture out and see the world is something that can change your life. It’s a thrilling prospect to learn about regional history, experience new cultures, and meet new people. There’s another element that is truly enjoyable about international travel, and that’s sampling the local food. While most of us don’t get to travel the globe, we can experience one of the best parts of such an adventure – eating delicious and exotic foods right here at home. Dining on great International flavors, such as Mexican cuisine, here in the US can still make you say “bueno!”

While sandwiches, burgers, and salads are a staple for lunch here, why not give yourself a little tour abroad in the middle of the day? It feels good to take a break from work, or the stress of school or kids, and enjoy a satisfying mid-day meal. Make it feel like an adventure with some ethnic treats like Italian, Mexican, or Spanish food.

The Versatility of Italian Food
Pizza is perhaps the most beloved Italian- style cuisine. Pizza in some form (flatbread topped with oils and seasoning) was eaten centuries ago by people in Italy, Greece, and even ancient Egypt. The modern version has been traced to Naples in 1889, though some historians argue that it was really the neighboring region of Lazio. Whatever the traditional beginning, today imagination runs wild and pizza toppings can range from the traditional to the downright strange. The opportunity to create a “custom” pizza makes this lunch choice perfect for changing tastes, and for those “I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for today” kinds of moments.

The same can be said for pasta, another of the versatile Italian foods. With a broad selection of pasta shapes, each designed to hold the sauce differently or to create a varying density of pasta in each bite, pasta is a go-to dish for many. Add to that the ability to top it with different sauces and ingredients and you have a dish that satisfies any craving. Eat a bowl of pasta and you’ll instantly take a tour through Italy. you’ll feel the breeze along the coast of Naples, hear the singing gondoliers of Venice, or feel the warmth of the Tuscan sun.

The Comfort of Mexican Food
It’s a cold, rainy day and all you want is some good “comfort” food. Soups are great, but how about traveling south of the border for some Mexican food without having to leave your neighborhood? The combination of cheese and sauce used in many Mexican dishes fill you up while bringing your taste buds to life. Whether you like Mole, ranchero, or enchilada sauce, there’s something that will tingle your tongue and possibly provide a little burn to boot! Customize with either beans, chicken, pork, or beef and wrap in a soft shell and you have that warm, comfortable dish that transports you to a happy place. Take a taste tour and hear the sound of mariachis or envision the crystal waters along the Yucatan with each bite and you’ll realize you’ve taken a little journey to a far away place without getting on a plane.

Spanish Food Surprise
Spanish food may not be the most common ethnic food eaten here in the US, but it certainly has the personality to become a favorite of anyone willing to try it. From gazpacho to croquettes, cured meats to paella, Spanish food also provides variety and unique flavors that can take you across the Atlantic and settle you in at a tapas restaurant. Food and drink are a very important part of Spanish culture – they have one bar/restaurant for every 129 people there. Just be careful, after a delicious meal of Spanish food, you may be so satisfied that you’ll be tempted to take a siesta. This traditional nap typically occurs between 2 and 4 pm.

A Mini Trip to Adventurous Tastes
The next time you’re deciding what to have for lunch – take a risk and suggest to your friends or coworkers that you should all take a little trip around the world. By sampling Italian food or Mexican food, or even discovering Spanish food, you will find yourself at the best destination – distinctively appetizing.



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