WooFood certified restaurants help you enjoy delicious food during the holidaysBy Cindy Tenner
What do WooFood and the holidays have in common? Both of them include lots of delicious food! Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the New Year or some other special occasion of your own, this time of year is likely filled with gatherings for meals and treats with family and friends. With so many festive occasions, it can be easy to overindulge and then face a tough New Year’s resolution to get back on track with healthful eating.
If your celebrations take you to a WooFood certified restaurant in the Worcester, MA area, you can enjoy festive holiday fare that is healthful and delicious. WooFood (www.woofood.org
) certified restaurants offer menu options that make the healthful choice the easy choice. Chefs at several WooFood restaurants have created some special holiday menu items that feature bright colorful traditional holiday ingredients in healthful delicious entrees and salads.
NU Café (www.nucafe.com
) is featuring two dishes that include colorful cranberries, tasty nuts and bright orange vegetable favorites. Gather at NU Café and try the Roasted Butternut and Candied Pecan Salad. Baby spinach topped with nutmeg, roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, cranberries, caramelized onions and goat cheese is served with toasted flat bread and olive oil vinaigrette. For a heartier option, try the Harvest Quinoa Bowl- NU Café’s quinoa is served with broccoli florets, cranberries, crushed almonds and sweet potato that is topped with carrots and their house made hummus.
Roasted Butternut and Pecan Salad
Harvest Quinoa Bowl
Flying Rhino (www.flyingrhinocafe.com
), another popular WooFood certified restaurant, is offering a special entrée that will be available every Friday through Sunday until the end of the holiday season. It features a pumpkin latke served with their organic roasted chicken, green beans and a dollop of sour cream. What could be better than this healthful comfort food entrée enjoyed with friends and family?
Looking for a treat to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth? Stop by Wooberry (www.wooberryyogurt.com
) to indulge in one of their special holiday frozen yogurt flavors- peppermint or egg nog. A small peppermint or egg nog frozen yogurt topped with a few almonds and a drizzle of chocolate may be the perfect combo for your healthful delicious choice.
If these highlighted options aren’t what you have in mind for a holiday meal, remember that WooFood certified restaurants also offer “Dinner For Now and Tomorrow’s Chow.” You can ask to wrap up half your meal before it's served. Half will come perfectly plated and the other will be waiting for you to take home for a meal the next day, essentially giving you twice the value while making it easier to control portion sizes!
WooFood and WooFood certified restaurants wish you a happy, healthful holiday season.
Holiday WooFood Treats from WooBerry are HERE!
Are you frustrated with yourself for eating too much Halloween candy? Are you starting to think that staying on the path of healthful eating through the holidays is going to be impossible? Stick with WooFood and we will guide you to many healthful holiday foods!
Right up until Thanksgiving, WooBerry will be offering Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt. That’s solid pack pumpkin yogurt loaded with flavorful spices. Want to make it WooFood Certified? Top your pumpkin yogurt with the cinnamon tossed dried local apples and walnuts. This is one nutritionally packed autumn treat. Pumpkin provides the important antioxidant, beta-carotene while walnuts are rich with the plant based form of Omega-3. Apples are a fruit filled with healthful properties and current research is uncovering many nutritional benefits of cinnamon. WooBerry and WooFood are helping you make the healthful choice the easy choice.
Try it today!
WooBerry Frozen Yogurt is located at 141 Highland Street, Worcester, MA. Their hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 11AM-10PM, Friday-Saturday 11AM-11PM, and Sunday 11AM-10PM
On Saturday, October 19, Worcester kicked-off Food Day MA activities with a Food Day Festival at the Main South Farmers’ Market at the YMCA Central Branch. Local and healthful were themes for the day. Sunshine and warm fall temperatures made it a great day to appreciate the fabulous locally grown produce, honey and locally made soaps. Live music was food for the spirit and good nutrition was celebrated in an abundance of ways. “Rethink the Drink” heightened awareness of the large amounts of sugar in many beverages and recommended some more healthful alternatives.
The WooFood team joined the festivities to share the message that many local restaurants are helping the community maintain good nutrition when eating out. WooFood certified restaurants make the healthful choice the easy choice by offering menu items that taste good while being rich with vegetables and light on less healthful fats and meats. The WooFood booth also featured information about ways to make portion control easier at home by eating from a small plate or bowl instead of a large one. It is amazing how the same portion looks larger on a smaller plate. This little trick helps you feel more satisfied with a healthful portion size. When dining at WooFood certified restaurants, try “Dinner Now and Tomorrow’s Chow” to avoid overeating. Half of your order will be packed up for you to take home before your meal is served. This helps you avoid that temptation of just one more bite!
It was a great day to celebrate healthful lifestyles.
Do you consider dining out “cheating” or do you just shy away from going out altogether when trying to eat well?By Kelsey Hopkins and Cindy Tenner*Note: Originally posted for Food Day MA 2013 on http://fooddayma.wordpress.com/
I’d like to introduce to you WooFood
, a Worcester non-profit whose mission is to make the healthful option the easy choice when dining out.WooFood
uses a restaurant certification process to ensure that dishes meet specific health criteria and offer the Dinner for Now, Tomorrow’s Chow program which provides the option to wrap up half your dish to go, before it’s served to you-making portion control easy!
Now that you know the basics, let’s take a WooFood certified dining adventure through the city. We’ll start the morning with the mouth watering Spinach-Feta Wrap at Nu Café
. The whole grain wrap is packed with the delicious protein of eggs and the rich flavors of basil, scallion and diced tomatoes. After reading the paper and listening to the various languages that fill the café during the morning hours, we head over to the Tower Hill Botanic Garden.
Here, we explore the beauty of the gardens and catch up on some reading in their library. After taking in the sites for a couple of hours, we’ve worked up an appetite. We head to the WooFood
certified, Café Manzi’s and we’re faced with a tough decision trying to decide which of their savory dishes to order. Finally, we’ve decided on the Grilled Vegetable Panini which offers a sensational mix of onions, roasted red peppers and zucchini and is sure to satisfy our craving! After lunch it’s straight to Elm Park to enjoy some fresh air on this crisp fall day. A game of Frisbee is underway and we’re quick to join the fun.
As the sun sets, we make plans with friends to meet at Flying Rhino
for dinner. It’s hard to believe, but all that Frisbee playing and fresh has made us hungry again. I don’t know about you, but I am excited to enjoy a healthful night out with friends! Knowing that our plans include a sweet treat after dinner, we ask the waiter to wrap half our meal to go before it’s served. We’re thrilled that the Flying Rhino’s classic Ivory Tusk sandwich is available in a more healthful WooFood certified version because this is exactly what we are craving. It even includes a side of their famous broccoli slaw!
After dinner, we take the short walk up Shrewsbury Street to Alina Eisenhauer’s dessert bar, Sweet
. Here we cap off the wonderful evening with friends by indulging in red wine poached pears. It’s a light treat that satisfies the sweet tooth.
Thanks to WooFood
we were able to eat all three meals out in a healthful and satisfying manner. It’d be a shame to forget that we also have half an Ivory Tusk sandwich for tomorrow! While I know it’s unlikely you’ll dine out for all three meals in a day, you’ll definitely be missing out if you don’t check out a WooFood
certified restaurant soon!
For a complete listing of WooFood
certified restaurants or to learn more, check us out at woofood.org!
WooFood was pleased to participate in the “Taking Control of Your Diabetes”
(TCOYD) Conference and Health Fair held at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA on Saturday, September, 21, 2013. TCOYD is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization dedicated to educating and motivating people with diabetes and their loved ones to take a more active role in their own health and to provide continuing diabetes education to medical professionals to better care for their patients.
The WooFood team greeted attendees in the Exhibit Hall and shared information about various ways to maintain healthful eating when dining out. While WooFood certified restaurants don’t specifically focus on menus designed for diabetics, the WooFood option of “Dinner for Now and Tomorrow’s Chow” can help diabetics maintain their appropriate blood glucose levels with portion control. At WooFood certified restaurants, you can ask them to wrap up half your meal before it's served. Half will come perfectly plated and the other will be waiting for you to take home for a meal the next day, essentially giving you twice the value while making it easier to control portion sizes!
At the exhibit, the WooFood gang also demonstrated how the size of a plate or bowl can impact perception of a portion. One cup of cereal in a small bowl is perceived by the mind and stomach as more satisfying than that same portion size served in a large bowl. See if a smaller bowl or plate makes it easier for you to feel satisfied by healthful portion sizes. SAVORS
, the exclusive food and beverage provider for the DCU Center, prepared a delicious WooFood certified menu for the TCOYD Conference and Health Fair. Attendees were less focused on the fact that the vegetables served by SAVORS were healthful and more focused on how delicious they tasted seasoned with olive oil, garlic and herbs.
Keep an eye out for WooFood at more upcoming events including Food Day
on October 24.
On Our Own, Saving Tomorrow’s Chow is Harder Than We Think
By Stephanie Parker
We’ve all been there: we order a delicious meal and we’re presented with a massive pile of food, much more than we know we should eat. “Oh, I’ll only eat half and will take home the rest for tomorrow,” we tell ourselves. The next thing we know, we look down at our plate and the entire meal is gone. We ate the entire thing and we feel stuffed. Overstuffed. And we still have to figure out what we’re going to eat for tomorrow.
WooFood’s special concept of “Dinner for Now and Tomorrow’s Chow,” that automatically places half of your meal in a to-go box before it is even brought out is more than just a good idea…the research shows us we need the help. Food psychologist and researcher Brian Wansink said, “Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.” (1) Here are three different studies that show how mindlessly we really eat…
1) Subjects were invited to a sit-down family-style dinner where pasta was offered in either a large-sized bowl or a medium-sized bowl. Those who took pasta from the large bowl ended up serving themselves 77% more pasta and eating 71% more pasta than those with the medium bowl. (2)
2) At an ice cream social, subjects were randomly given a smaller or a larger bowl and either a smaller or larger ice cream scoop. The subjects were then allowed to serve themselves as much ice cream as they’d like. Subjects with a larger bowl served themselves 31% more. Those with a larger serving spoon increased their servings by 14.5%. (3)
3) Subjects were invited to a soup-only lunch at a restaurant. Half of the subjects were given secretly rigged, self-refilling bowls of soup and the other half were given normal bowls. Those with the self-refilling bowls ate 73% more soup and 113 more calories than those with a normal bowl. (4)
These studies all show that we’re heavily influenced by how much food is on the plate in front of us and it takes some serious self-awareness to make sure we don’t mindlessly eat more than we need to. So make life easier on yourself and take advantage of WooFood’s “Dinner for Now and Tomorrow’s Chow”. You won’t have to constantly worry you’re mindlessly eating too much of your meal because your portion will be just right from the start. Stephanie Parker graduated with her Masters degree in Nutrition from Boston University. She will be eligible to be a Registered Dietitian in August after she completes her Dietetic Internship at UMass Medical Center in Worcester and passes the national RD exam.
(2) van Kleef E, Shimizu M, Wansink B. Serving bowl selection biases the amount of food served. J Nutr Educ Behav
. 2012; Jan-Feb;44(1):66-70.
(3) Wansink B, van Ittersum K, Painter JE. Ice cream illusions: bowls, spoons, and self-served portion sizes. Am J Prev Med
(4) Wansink B, Painter JE, North J. Bottomless bowls: why visual cues of portion size may influence intake. Obes Res
Photo sources: http://www.woofood.org/what-is-woofood.html http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
The story behind the great food at Le Mirage
So, what is so special about Le Mirage that it attracts the attention of people and WooFood? It is a restaurant that fills everyone’s plate with healthy, delicious Lebanese food using fresh ingredients.
The owner, Dianne got started in the food business at age 12. It was the summer in 1970 when she first went to work for her dad, who at the time owned the Boulevard Diner. Once school started she would take the bus right after school and go to work until 7 pm 5 days a week. On Saturdays and Sundays she worked from 12-7 pm, as did her brothers and sister.
In addition, she met her husband in a restaurant as well when he came to work for her dad. Dianne and her husband opened their first restaurant in Shrewsbury called Dianne’s Restaurant. Her husband stayed working there, but Dianne was inspired by Panera Bread and other little cafes where you can have lunch, sit by a window, sip on a cappuccino and relax. Soon her dream unfolded and Le Mirage opened on March 4th, 2004.
The menu at Le Mirage started off as healthy salads, paninis, homemade soups, and decadent desserts. Before long, Dianne’s customers were clamoring for dinner in addition to lunch. She listened and worked on a menu that focused on Lebanese and Italian dishes that are a part of her nationality. She created many sautéed dishes and seafood dishes. Dianne tested them on her husband first and if he liked them she would offer them as a special. Once a dish had customer approval, it became an addition to the regular menu. Dianne’s passion for food and love of cooking fed this dinner menu creation.
What motivated Dianne to provide healthful options? She has been a vegetarian for 15 years so she understands her customers’ desire for healthful food choices- popular menu items include the kabobs, grilled and baked salmon. At the request of customers, she also started offering gluten free choices.
When you can’t be at Le Mirage, use Dianne’s cooking tips at home: Use the freshest ingredients; keep it fun and simple. Currently, Le Mirage is participating in Worcester Restaurant week with a special menu and live music. So, you will have a chance not only to have a healthy top quality meal, but enjoy the atmosphere as well!
Image from ClipArt
WooFood says Three Cheers for Worcester Restaurant Week
When you think about it, Worcester Restaurant Week is a win for everybody. The Worcester area is known for its many great restaurants with reasonable prices and during restaurant week the prices are even better. It is hard to pass up a three course dinner for $23.13. It sounds like a night out can be pretty special and within budget from now through August 17. Of course, it is a win for the restaurants because once you have tried their fine food options you will be marking your calendar for return visits. But….. you are thinking to yourself that you want to keep up your summer goals of making healthful food choices. Guess what? WooFood certified restaurants: Flying Rhino, Le Mirage and Coral Seafood are including some WooFood Certified Options in their restaurant week menu. At Flying Rhino, you can start with the Grilled Veggie Plate with Balsamic Glaze followed by the WooFood Steak Tips served over black rice with more veggies. For the third course, you can enjoy Fresh Pear Slices with a Caramel Dip. At Le Mirage, the WooFood certified options on the restaurant week menu are Hummus, Le Mirage Salad, and Grilled Salmon Served over Roasted Vegetables with a balsamic glaze. Plan your night out during Worcester Restaurant Week and maintain your commitment to healthful food choices.
Where in the World is WooBerry?
Summer has finally come and brought us heat. And when it’s so hot outside, most of us have a need to cool down. But what is the way to do it? You can go swimming and drink a lot of cold water, but in city jungles the first one can be a real problem, and the second—is boring. So what are the other options? Of course, you will think about ice cream or the healthier choice—frozen yogurt. Probably, most people who live in the Worcester area have heard about WooBerry, famous for their delicious and healthy options if you are craving something sweet and cold at the same time.
One problem existed—to enjoy WooBerry you had to visit their one store. But now, thanks to the owner Ted Domville who recently decided to take WooBerry to the streets via mobile truck, “fro-yo” can be found in a location near you. Let’s welcome the WooBerry truck!
The new WooBerry yogurt truck!
Owner Ted Domville serving up fresh frozen yogurt.
So, where can you actually find the WooBerry truck near you when you do not feel like travelling during such heat? Their schedule is fluid; they do have standing events every Tuesday at the UMass Farmer's Market, The Out to Lunch series in downtown Worcester on Thursdays, and the Canal District Farmer's Market on Thursdays. Additionally, they will be at local events like stART on the Street, Holden Days, as well as events at the local colleges and museums.
You may think that if it’s a truck, it won’t be able to take all their toppings. But there is no reason to worry, they do have all the WooFood certified options: all the fresh fruits, all the nuts, and the dark chocolate. Additionally, they carry the petite size on the truck so people can get equal amounts of fruits/nuts and yogurt.
WooBerry and WooFood are very excited to have the WooBerry Truck on the street to share the WooBerry experience directly with you throughout the Worcester area!
For more information about WooBerry, visit their website: http://wooberryyogurt.com/
By Cindy Tenner
As I scan the magazine covers at the check-out line in the grocery store, I notice that they all have two things in common. Each cover mentions at least one article about losing weight or eating healthier as well as at least one article about things I will call “treats” ---best cakes ever, 20 ways to garnish a hot dog, 10 favorite party foods. At times it seems we have a love-hate relationship with food. Most of us want to be healthy and make healthy eating choices but sometimes we want to indulge and enjoy that cake, hot dog or French fries. For most people, the occasional indulgence is fine, and the key word is “occasional.”
Historically, most people dined outside their homes infrequently enough that one could feel okay about “indulging” when eating out. However, our lifestyles today have more of us eating out more often, and indulging can’t be a multiple times per week habit if we want to maintain our overall health. One solution is to eat at home and only prepare healthful foods….but what about meeting a friend for lunch, that business dinner with a client, that night that the kids’ soccer practice ran long--they’re starving and you were too busy to plan anything for dinner? What about the night that your friend calls at the last minute and says, “let’s grab a bite”? Let’s not forget the Thursday night birthday dinner for your college buddy. Sometimes it just feels easier to stop at a restaurant on the way home from work. The lifestyle of multiple restaurant meals makes it easy to rack up a lot of unhealthy food choices each week. We no longer eat out only on special occasions.
If we study the menu hard and become “high maintenance” for the wait staff, we can make better choices. Can I have that broiled not fried? Please put the sauce on the side. Can I get double vegetables instead of fries? Can the chef prepare that with olive oil instead of butter? This is a fine solution, but depending on the venue, sometimes it works better than others. WooFood is trying to make it easier for all of us to make healthy choices and still enjoy the pleasure of eating out. Restaurants can go through a WooFood certification process so that their menu includes healthful food choices and one of the key criteria is that the menu option must taste good- pretty important huh? (For full details of WooFood criteria, go here
Another challenge of dining out today that we hear about constantly is portion sizes. WooFood’s solution to that is “Dinner for now and tomorrow’s chow.” We all know we can eat half of our entrée and then ask to pack up the rest but it is so easy to keep taking just one more bite and before we know it, we have consumed way more than we planned to. With this WooFood option, half of your entrée is packed up before it is served to you. Won’t that be perfect for lunch tomorrow?
Are you wondering what to do if your dining companions aren’t so keen on the healthful choice or what if this is that meal where you want to “indulge”? No worries--no WooFood certified restaurant is required to take anything off their menu- your choices will not be restricted. Everyone will be happy with their menu choice. Try a WooFood restaurant and ask your favorite restaurants to become WooFood certified.