By Cindy Tenner

Here at WooFood, nothing makes us happier than having another restaurant complete the certification process to offer wholesome food choices for you and your family. We commend 7 Nana on their genuine commitment to make healthful choices available on their menu.

7 Nana Japanese Steakhouse at 60 Shrewsbury Street in Worcester is the place to go for hibachi, sushi and much more. In addition to fine food, every Wednesday night, 7 Nana invites you to join them for Karaoke at 9 PM and flex your vocal muscles!

7 Nana offers four flavorful WooFood certified appetizers: Yakitori, Seaweed Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad and an Avocado Salad. For those seeking vegetarian fare, the Veggie Udori and Hibachi prepared vegetables are proudly boasting WooFood certification. Yaki Soba, a classic Japanese noodle dish stir fried with your choice of chicken, shrimp or vegetables also meets the WooFood standard for wholesomeness.

If you are enticed by the many other tasty menu options, remember that 7 Nana also participates in WooFood’s “Dinner For Now Tomorrow’s Chow.” This means you may choose to have half your meal wrapped up before it is served to you for easy portion control.

While offering an elegant variety of palette pleasers, 7 Nana takes into account the tastes of their younger guests with Kids’ meals that come with whole grains, fresh veggies, and your choice of meat!

Enjoy lunch or dinner at 7 Nana and congratulate them on their WooFood certification. 

 
 
By Matt Dewolf
For the first time in over 20 years, the FDA is proposing a major update to the nutrition label. So what can you expect to see? Some of the major updates include listing the calories more prominently and giving the serving size in a way that is easier to understand by prominently displaying the number of servings per container. In addition, the FDA is considering changing serving size requirements. Currently, 8 ounces is a serving size for a drink. However, if you buy a 20 oz bottle of soda, the serving size is still 8 oz, meaning you have to do some math to get the total number of calories, sugar, etc. The proposed changes would make a serving size the entire bottle, meaning you wouldn’t have to do mental gymnastics. This makes sense given the massive increase in portion sizes in recent years. (Ever hear of the Small Plate Movement?)

The proposed changes would also note how much added sugar is in a product. In addition, the amount of Vitamin D and Potassium would have to be listed.
Since these changes were announced, the FDA has opened a 90-day comment period open to the public. After that, the FDA will issue a final rule within the next year or so.  From there, manufacturers will have 2 years to comply.

Overall, the changes are making strides towards helping Americans become more healthful. The fact remains that it is still in the people's power to make healthful choices. One criticism has been that these food labels will not impact the information people have when making choices at restaurants. Choosing a healthful meal can be more challenging at a restaurant because we don’t have a full breakdown of nutritional information. WooFood simplifies that process for the consumer by working behind the scenes with chefs to create and certify healthful menu choices and portion sizes.

What do you think about these proposed nutrition label changes? Let us know in the comments.

For more information, see the FDAs pre-release

 
 
 
 
Keep your nutrition goals flying high with WooFood Certified Dishes at Flying Rhino during Worcester Restaurant Week
By Cindy Tenner

Worcester Restaurant Week is a great time to visit old favorite restaurants and try new ones. It starts on February 24 and runs through March 8. You can enjoy tasty appetizers, elegant entrees and delicious desserts all for a 3 course fixed price of $23.14. Most importantly, several WooFood certified restaurants are participating and you can enjoy all of this while knowing that you are eating healthfully.

Flying Rhino is offering two WooFood certified entrees on their restaurant week menu. WooFood Steak Tips served over black rice with veggies will satisfy those red meat cravings without wreaking havoc on your nutritional goals. The Almond Crusted Basa packs a colorful combination of flavors with baked delicate white fish over black rice with green beans and red peppers in a coconut curry peanut sauce. You can finish off the meal with Flying Rhino’s WooFood certified Apple slices with a Caramel Dip.

Get yourself out of the winter doldrums by planning a fun lunch or dinner out with friends to enjoy Worcester Restaurant Week. You can find Flying Rhino’s full restaurant week menu here.

 
 
Featuring new WooFood certified dish during Worcester Restaurant Week
By Cindy Tenner

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Coral Seafood is “have it your way.” I had a chance to catch up with Chef K. George, Executive Chef earlier this week and was incredibly impressed with how flexible they are about preparing fresh seafood and accompaniments in whatever style that suits you. The menu is filled with mouthwatering entrees and sides but you can also have your food prepared completely to your liking and nutritional goals. Fresh seafood is hand selected daily by the Coral Seafood team directly from the source at Boston Pier.

If you want your fish steamed, grilled, or cooked without any oil, they are more than happy to accommodate. They offer a variety of types of fish and seafood each day. The choices for side dishes are plentiful as well and again, they want your meal to be exactly what you would like to eat. Coral Seafood prides itself on serving all fresh vegetables.  Each day, there is a whole grain side dish, steamed vegetables, grilled vegetables and a fresh fruit plate to name a few.  Whole wheat pasta is always available as an option in their pasta entrees as well.

Chef K. George let me know that Coral Seafood is becoming a completely “from scratch” kitchen. Everything is going to be made in house.  Currently, she and her team are working on some new WooFood certified dishes. One of the new dishes is being featured on Coral Seafood’s special menu for Worcester Restaurant Week . It is “Salmon In a Bag” – elegant salmon cooked to perfection in parchment paper with fresh herbs, lemon, wine and vegetables. This is part of a 3 course prix fixe menu available for $23.14 during Restaurant Week (February 24- March 8).  Check out the whole Coral Seafood Restaurant Week menu to choose an appetizer and dessert that can also fit in with your healthful eating plan.

 “Savoring the simple goodness and purity of our seafood is the essence of good eating,” is the quote on Coral Seafood’s website and this is certainly what I felt when talking with Chef K. George. In the mood for seafood? Try WooFood certified Coral Seafood for lunch or dinner!

 

 
 
Woohoo! Worcester Best Chef Competition WXLO Perfect Palette Award goes to Flying Rhino for their WooFood certified, Honey Chipotle Salmon
By Cindy Tenner

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Once again Worcester’s Best Chef Competition was a sold out event. What better way to fight off the winter cold than with a day of top chefs cooking their signature dishes? Flying Rhino takes their WooFood certification to heart when planning healthful, delicious menu items and the Honey Chipotle Salmon has been such a hit that Chef Christopher featured the dish at the competition in Mechanics Hall. If you haven’t yet tried the entrée, it is a pan seared skin on salmon filet over a flavorful crab, andouille sausage and barley jambalaya with black bean vinaigrette and honey chipotle butter. A quick Google search reveals numerous articles about the health benefits of salmon and barley making them two clear winners in a healthful diet.

Paul Barber, owner of Flying Rhino, shared that because of the health benefits of seafood, they offer several seafood dishes on their menu. They have also been creative with nutritious whole grains and whole ancient grains as an option to rice. In addition to providing healthful options, Flying Rhino achieves great success with the very important WooFood criteria that the food must taste good!  According to Barber, Flying Rhino’s goal is to create dishes with “enough twist to temp the palate.” He wants patrons to enjoy the dining out experience by providing menu options that they would not likely make at home.  

If you are looking for a fun place to watch the Super Bowl (even though the Patriots aren’t playing), join the party at Flying Rhino on Sunday, February 2. Try the Honey Chipotle Salmon and sample many items on the complimentary buffet at half time. The Mexicali Dip, a Black bean salsa and avocado crema served with seasoned corn tortilla crisps is WooFood certified and will be featured on the buffet.

Congratulations to Paul Barber, Chef Christopher and the whole Flying Rhino team on winning the WXLO Perfect Palette Award!


 
 
WooFood certified restaurants help you enjoy delicious food during the holidays
By 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.

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Roasted Butternut and Pecan Salad
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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!
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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


 
 
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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!