Quinoa Salad

Vegetarians – Does Eating Out Have to Be a Challenge?

One of the biggest challenges vegetarians face is dining with friends. They sometimes feel guilty about steering the group away from places that would be a better fit for their meat eating friends, but does it need to be a major issue?

Most modern restaurants have vegetarian options and will even customize a dish to your diet upon request. The exceptions would be places where a customer has simply never requested a vegetarian option, such as rural diners in the Midwest or barbecue joints.   Even places you wouldn’t consider vegetarian friendly will serve salads and sides that are meat free. These options may not be ideal but they’re likely adequate. Who wants to settle for adequate, though?

What about meat eaters who have vegetarian friends? It’s more probablewe’re the ones making plans. Many meat-eaters have never considered vegetarian foods until they are exposed to a friend or acquaintance who expresses a desire to avoid meats. How do we ensure we find a place that includes our vegetarian friends? In this case, the Internet is your best asset.

Most restaurants publish their menu online, but certain restaurant types are a safe bet even without looking. For instance, a place that serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches will almost always have a selection of meat-free options. Pizza is another safe bet, as making meat free pizza is simple. Pasta is another safe choice, because many pasta dishes are not only vegetarian, but vegan friendly. Basil pesto pasta, anyone?

Nothing is simpler than a sandwich shop. Almost every sandwich shop in the US has vegetarian sandwiches. Even if the shop doesn’t offer vegetarian options, a request to ‘hold the meat’ on an otherwise perfect sandwich will usually work. A specialty sandwich shop without a selection of vegetarian options is almost unheard of these days.

Breakfast is always a good choice, and many restaurants will serve breakfast foods all day. Even for a meat-eater, breakfast for lunch can be a fun change of pace – Belgian waffles are not just for Sunday brunch anymore. Given the number of vegetarian items on the normal breakfast menu, finding something delicious should be simple.

Most people who look at a tremendous array of options on a menu don’t consider the limited options that may be available for vegetarians. As long as we are aware of the needs and wants of every member of our group, we can make more informed choices. The most important thing to remember is that a mindful choice and a little creativity will go a long way.


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.




Take Time and Savor Breakfast

Remember those mornings when you could wake up without the sound of an alarm to startle you? As you lay in bed – relaxed, warm, and cozy in the sheets – your thoughts could turn to what the day might bring. Those days are too few and far between now, but why is that? Why don’t we allow ourselves the opportunity to simply enjoy our mornings, especially when it comes to breakfast?

You tell yourself it’s the call of real life -it’s the need to hustle off to work, to school, or to run errands. But why must it begin with a breakfast bar, microwaved food, or skipping breakfast altogether? We make the time to check our devices for the latest postings from friends or to squeeze in that workout. So why can’t we focus that time towards a healthy, pleasant meal in the morning – one that feels as relaxed, warm, and cozy as the sheets? After all, breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day.

Whether you cook it yourself, visit the nearest coffee shop for yogurt and pastries, or dine out for breakfast in a restaurant, don’t deprive yourself of the flavor and nutrition a quality breakfast provides.

Go From Imagining to Experiencing

Picture it: a bright and comfortable setting with the quiet hum of people talking and the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. The thought of omelets, whole grain oatmeal, pastries, or yogurt with granola tempts you to take your time and enjoy breakfast.  It’s the low stress experience you’re looking for, one where you can order your meal and then sit down and relax. Yes, this is more like it.

Stop imagining, and make it happen.

Breakfast should not be gulped, it should be savored. A comfortable chair, a chance to get your bearings, and the opportunity to taste your food – that’s how to begin your day. It doesn’t hurt to allow someone else to do the cooking. Taking the time to enjoy your morning meal can work wonders on your frame of mind and reduce your stress levels. It also has an impact on your overall health.

The Health Facts – In Case You Need More Convincing

While slowing down and having a good breakfast can be a great attitude adjustment, it’s more than a stress-reliever. According to many sources, breakfast eaters tend to have better diets overall.  Eating within just a few hours of waking up, aids in your metabolism of glucose (blood sugar). This impacts your energy levels and can aid in staving off hunger pangs for as long as 5 hours.*

Some other reasons it’s good to eat breakfast in the morning:*

  • It gets you moving
  • Protects your heart
  • Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Gives you a mental boost
  • Could help control weight

Sugary cereals and breakfast bars aren’t the answer  though– the excess sugars can be detrimental to your ability to maintain constant glucose levels. Consuming a meal of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin rich fruit and vegetables in the morning provides that steady source of energy you need to get through a busy day.

A Good Morning

So no matter your schedule, start your day by taking care of your body and your mind. Consume a healthy breakfast of Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit, or eggs and oatmeal. Even allow yourself- only on occasion – to enjoy a Belgian waffle or some pastries if that’s what it takes to slow down and get your morning off to a positive start.



Eric Rimm, ScD, professor of epidemiology and Nutrition – Harvard School of Public Health

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN)



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