Marie Mercado and Ricardo Williams team up to create specialty space-themed ice cream for the summer.

The Greenery Creamery and Nerd Nite are collaborating on an assortment of nerdy, space-themed ice cream flavors, called THE GALAXY COLLECTION.

Samples of a few flavors will debut at the Nerd Nite event on Thursday, July 12th. Following which, all flavors will be available at the Greenery Creamery for a limited time offer.


The Greenery Creamery is an ice cream boutique in downtown Orlando.

Nerd Nite is an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking presentations.

THE GALAXY COLLECTION is all deliciously vegan with coconut cream base for all of the nerdy, spacey ice cream flavors!

An Einstein-Rosen bridge trip for the taste buds with a swirl of colorful, fruity flavors.

A mix of dark cocoa, Oreo chunks, and chocolate chips with a delicious and irresistable gravitational pull.

Minty ice cream with chocolate chips coming in piece(s).

Smoke salted thai tea with a blast of vegan sauce swirls.

Black ash coconut littered with marshmallows, crunchy cinnamon bites, chocolate galactic swirls, and pretzel.

Happy 2018, Food Friends!

Can we all agree that glitter and unicorn desserts are so 2017? Well maybe not, but a girl can dream.

I caught up with some of Orlando’s coolest chefs to find out what they see coming to a table near you in 2018, and here’s what they had to say.

The Verdict:

  • Crazy desserts are out; smaller, savory sweets are in
  • Asian eats are here to stay
  • RIP to unnecessary gluten-free dishes
  • Say hello to veg cuisine, it’s here and it’s not playing

HAWKERS Asian Street Fare – Kaleb Harrell 

“Ethnic desserts – We are revamping our entire dessert line because we feel customers are ready. Desserts that have a savory edge, are fruit-based, or just have ingredients outside of mainstream will gain popularity as the size of desserts decreases. Today’s customer would rather have a few bites of something amazing to end their meal than a bowl of corn syrup.

Savory cocktails – This one has been on the fringe for a while, but I think 2018 is the year for savory cocktails to take hold.  Think meat stocks, dry rub ingredients, and vegetable instead of fruit juices. 

Fast and fresh – This is the mecca for market share in lunch business.  A few companies are doing well and expanding quickly, but it’s a race to see who keeps consistency. Virtually every diner is looking for a fast, and ultra fresh lunch option. How many days can you eat a Chick-fil-A salad for lunch?

Vinegars and sours – Fermented flavors are gaining more popularity and will continue in the next year. Look for pickling, fermenting, gourmet mustards, and generally bold flavors in small quantities to continue.  Cheese and charcuterie are amazing, but the accoutrements are starting to take center stage.”

Black Rooster Taqueria – John Calloway

“I think we will see a lot of cauliflower. Gluten-free has reached its peak, so we will see more artisan and/or rustic breads and people milling their own flours.

Mexican will still be everywhere, but I believe Indian food is the next big cuisine.

Food as medicine will also be a big focus. From all of the juice bars to doctors and nutritionists prescribing specific foods and diets, we’ll be getting back to our roots with the earth healing our bodies.”

K Restaurant – Michelle Hulbert

“I think there will continue to be interest smaller desserts – that are portion-control friendly. Over-the-top, gigantic desserts will be a thing of the past. The healthier sides of sweets will include more seasonal fruits.  I think in general we will see a larger focus on vegetables as the star and less starch-heavy dishes.”

K Restaurant –  Ryan McLaughlin

“I think in 2018 we will see a continued movement toward more vegetable-forward dishes, a dedicated focus on limiting food waste, and an even stronger movement within the chef community to support small, sustainable farms that are focused on the ethical treatment of animals.”

Tapa Toro – Wendy Lopez 

“I see familiar foods becoming more prominent on menus at restaurants. Think pork rinds and hot dogs. They will be reimagined with new ingredients and presentations.

I think we’ll start to see lesser-known cuts of meat appear on menus around town – like Vegas strip and Oyster steak. We’ll start to see more family-style dining options at restaurants. At Tapa Toro, we see groups of people passing plates around the table. Why commit to one entree when you could try a little bit of everything?”

Pizza Bruno – Bruno Zacchini

“I’ll start with pizza! For me, I see Neapolitan pizza still going strong but new styles and types will become the next thing from Detroit squares to Roman thin crusts and artisan slice pies with farm-to-table ingredients. Pizza has so many styles most people have never seen so it’s really wide open.

Overall fast casual is going to keep happening and moving forward with counter service places and places focusing on singular dishes done extremely well.  Flavors for me are Middle Eastern, more regional Asian (think Bangrak), and Italian, of course! I also think that in 2018 we’ll continue to see veg-centric cuisine making its way onto more menus.”

Valhalla Bakery + Valkyrie Doughnuts – Celine Duvoisin 

“I see a bubble bursting of the stuff on stuff on stuff on stuff. (Not that I’m not going to do excessive shit until it dies.)

I think that more Asian popularity will happen, I foresee a rise in proper ramen coming to town and possibly Asian desserts. We’ve hit this wall of sugar hell, with no one hitting the less sweet almost savory desserts.

Hopefully an end to the gluten-free obsession.

My fingers are crossed for more Mediterranean-type places that focus on macro-based foods as fuel instead of insanely over designed places that don’t have the food to seal the deal.”

Is this roundup missing something, or are you seeing a trend worth sharing? Comment below and cheers to new year!

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


I’m an absolute sucker for a new menu launch. And an even bigger sucker for anything with Indian flavors. When I heard that Create Your Nature had both, I made it my mission to head over to sample some of the new dishes.

Back in October 2016, when the fruit-and-grain concept opened, I distinctly remember feeling that Orlando finally got a restaurant that it actually needed. Admittedly, this spot is one of my favorites in town. I truly believe that this summer should be all about healthy eats and consuming ingredients that are approachable, easy to pronounce, and super flavorful.

If you’re seeking a place with healthier options or if you’re working on a lifestyle change, such as going vegetarian or vegan, this is your new favorite spot.

During my recent visits (I’ve been six times in the last two weeks), I’ve tried many of the new items, and here are my favorites:

ROCK THE CASBAH – creamy, slightly sweet with a touch of heat

1.Rock the Casbah – Signature oat bowl – $5.5 / $8.5

Cashews, Raisins, Coconut, Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Cardamom, Harissa Oil

2. Cacao-a-Bunga – Smoothie bowl: $12 (Photo above) 

Blend: Blueberries, Banana, Cacao Powder

Toppings: Chocolate Granola (Bonus: It’s made with probiotics!), Almonds, Coconut, Banana, Cacao Nibs

3. Holy Frijole – Salad: $7.50 / Available over greens for $1 extra

Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Corn, Tomato, Green Bell Pepper, Cilantro

Dressing: Lemon Balsamic, Chipotle Olive Oil

HOLY FRIJOLE – savory and slightly sweet

Click here for the entire new menu.

Create Your Nature

1284 N Orange Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789


Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


Kale yeah! Salads are no longer the side piece. As consumers become more ingredient conscious, chefs and restaurateurs across the globe are being pushed to think beyond traditional proteins, and experiment with ethnic flavors and greens-based dishes to accommodate varying palates. Caesar salad, move over and make room for quinoa and farro bowls topped with spicy broccoli, roasted chickpeas and basil.

This month happens to be National Salad Month, and thankfully, here in Florida, we’ve got an abundance of fresh greens and vegetables to mix and match to whip up amazing creations. We’ll start with three places in town to get your salad fix.

Forks up. . . let’s eat our way to summer.

1. The Sanctum Cafe


Dish: Savage Salad – Organic greens, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, eggplant and corn – all roasted and tossed with bell peppers, sweet onions, carrot ribbons, celery, jicama, zucchini, peas and pepitas. Served with rosemary dressing.

Local Fare: Corn from Long & Scott Farms (Zellwood, Fla.), Deer Park Peaches (Saint Cloud, Fla.) and salad greens and microgreens from The Greenhouse (Apopka, Fla.).

Favorite Salad Ingredient: “Roasted cauliflower is one my favorite toppings!” – Chef-Owner Chelsea Savage

2. The COOP


The Skinny: The new salad bar costs $9.99 per person and includes an endless amount of offerings, such as locally-sourced greens and vegetables, proteins and house made dressings.

Local Fare: The COOP is trekking around the state and shopping with Alderman Farms (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and L&M Farms (Palatka, Fla.).

Favorite Salad Ingredients: “I like the grilled vegetables and the specialty salads that rotate daily at the end of the bar. One of my favorites is a Hoppin’ John Succotash that Whitney makes and a few more are grilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes and feta cheese.” – Chef-Owner John Rivers

3. Dixie Kharma
Photo Credit: LemonHearted.com
Photo Credit: LemonHearted.com

Dish: Hail Kale Salad – Garlicky kale, blackened corn, pickled beets and watermelon rind and smoked tempeh

Local Fare: In this salad, Dixie Kharma’s uses Florida-grown corn and watermelon. When available, they toss in baby kale grown in their pallet garden located in front of Market on South.

Favorite Salad Ingredients: “We love to mix it up. Local ingredients are our first choice. Everything from peppery greens and herbs are a must. Pickled veggies, fruits and roots, heirloom beans and grains are also great.” – Dixie Kharma crew

Greens Guide  

Here’s a handful of local shops to visit to stock up on greens, grains and vegetables. This list is in no way inclusive of our local offerings in Central Florida, so comment with your local go-to store! 

What To Buy Right Now

Bell Pepper | Blueberry | Cabbage | Cantaloupe | Carrot | Celery | Cucumber | Eggplant Grapefruit | Guava | Mango | Mushroom | Orange | Papaya | Peaches | Radish | Sweet Corn | Tangerine | Tomato | Watermelon

Seasonal Recipe – Taverna Opa Orlando’s Watermelon Feta Salad Pizza
Taverna Opa Salad


  • 1 Watermelon slice
  • 1 Oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 5 Mint leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic glaze


  • On a cutting board, slice the watermelon in half
  • Place the flat side down, and cut a one-inch thick slice, then cut into five slices
  • Plate on a round dish and add feta cheese, olives, mint leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


Well, hello!

I’m Major, TastyChomps.com’s newest contributing food writer. To kicks things off, I’ve conducted a Q&A with myself (we all talk to ourselves, right?).

My stories will include everything from chef interviews, recipe features and industry news to kitchen gadgets, healthy eats, foodie fashion and even workout tips to keep the pounds off!

Check back for stories and send suggestions! And, if you catch me cruisin’ down Orlando Avenue sipping cold brew blasting NPR, holla at me!

Q: When did you fall in love with food? 

A: October 4, 2006 was the day that my love affair with food began. It all started with a sweet introduction to Blue Bird Bake Shop’s Downside Up cupcake.

Q: Where are you from and what do you do? 

A: I’m a New York native turned avid Orlandoan. By day, I’m publicist at a super cool PR/creative agency in downtown Orlando, and at night, I’m fighting the good fight against boring snacks as a foodpreneur with Project Pop, my organic kettle corn company.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with top chefs and restaurants throughout the country, so I know my way around the kitchen. I am also obsessed with fitness, so check out my Instagram to follow my gym chronicles!

Q: What are you currently drinking? 

A: My everyday, fail-proof drink is Dandelion Communitea Cafe’s iced coffee with plain soy milk and one pump of agave. Go in, and tell them Major sent you. You will not regret it! I also just purchased a great bag of beans from Lucky Goat Coffee Co. in Tallahassee. It’s pretty amazing.

Coffee Shop

Q: What is always in your fridge?

A: Homemade cold brew, coconut water and at least three different types of organic greens

Q: Where do you shop for groceries? 

A: You can find me on Saturday mornings at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, or shamelessly running around Trader Joe’s, while juggling 15 items in my hands.


Q: What’s your earliest memory of food? 

A: My dad would sit me down for hours on Saturday mornings to sip water straight from fresh coconuts, while he watched karate movies. I have my dad to thank for my obsession with all things coconut.

Q: Current obsessions? 

A: Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar’s Vegan Tuna Melt,  Ashley Brooke Design tumblers, Bearded Brothers’ organic energy bars and Orlando-themed tanks from Go Big Tees.

Q: Where can we follow you on Instagram? 

A: @Majorcreates + @EatProjectPop

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


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Inspired by the traditions of Southeast Asian cuisine, Genji is introducing Wok Street to Whole Foods Market Altamonte Springs, FL. For nearly 20 years, Genji has been providing select Whole Foods Market locations with sushi.


These days, they are adding Wok Street bowls to their menu.


Wok Street focuses on bold flavors and healthy dishes prepared quickly and affordably.


At Wok Street, crisp vegetables meet marinated proteins, paired with white or brown rice and a variety of bold, homemade sauces and toppings. Choose from Wok Street’s signature bowls, or build-a-bowl with all of your favorites. All bowls are made with rice, or upgrade your meal with noodles for only $1.


Wok Street Chicken contains chicken, ginger soy teriyaki sauce, brussels sprouts, garlic green beans, green papaya salad, scallions, fried garlic, and brown rice.


Chinatown consists of steak, black pepper sauce, brussels sprouts, bean sprouts, cucumber, pickled ginger, tempura crunch, and white rice.


Thai Curry King consists of golden tofu, Thai red curry sauce, garlic green beans, green papaya salad, bean sprouts, cucumber, crushed peanuts, and brown rice.


Background information

Genji Sushi began as a small restaurant in Philadelphia, dedicated to the finest quality all-natural sushi and Japanese-inspired cuisine. Today, Genji counters can be found in more than 165 Whole Foods Market locations in 18 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the U.K. At each location, skilled chefs prepare a variety of fresh items on-site, from sushi and sashimi to bao buns and authentic ramen. The company’s mission is to serve food-lovers with delicious Japanese-inspired food and knowledge to lead happy, healthy lives, and its goal is to contribute towards healthier food consumption habits on a global level. For more information, visit www.genjiweb.com.

Wok Street is now open at Whole Foods Market Altamonte Springs – 305 East Altamonte Drive Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

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I recently visited Kasa for lunch. For those of you who are familiar with Downtown Orlando, Kasa took over the space where Urban Flats used to be. Truthfully, it wasn’t my first time at Kasa. However, my last few visits weren’t worth writing about.

My weeks are usually very busy; finding a decent bite that won’t take too long to prepare is nearly impossible in downtown – unless you eat fast food or fast casual. That’s another issue with downtown. A lot of the restaurants offer salads but they are either overpriced based on portion size and quality, or not fresh in the slightest sense. Unlike most days, I was only able to squeeze in a fifteen minute lunch break. My options were either Subway or Eden’s but I wasn’t feeling Subway and Eden’s had a line out the door.

While on my way to Subway, I passed Kasa. The only times I’ve visited the restaurant was for dinner, which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing either. However, I stopped to see the lunch menu and was surprised to see affordable options. I’m not a cheap eater by any means. There are just some things that shouldn’t be more than its value. For example, I’d never pay $25 for pudding.

I took the gamble and chose Kasa for lunch. The service has always been exceptional. In fact, my first visit was saved by the extraordinary customer service since my tapas were subpar. Speaking of Tapas – that’s what Kasa is all about. They are known for their tapas sized sharable dishes, inspired by various cultures. From Edamame Bruschetta to Yucca Fries, there’s a cultural delight for everyone. Kasa also offers full entrees that are subject to change, so call ahead to make sure they have your favorite dish.

On this visit, I chose the Quinoa Greek Salad, composed of cucumbers, Kalamata olives, red onions,feta, cranberries, bell peppers, tomato, mixed greens, and citrus vinaigrette. At first, I wasn’t sure about the combination. The idea of citrus vinaigrette on cranberries confused me. Why? Most citrus vinaigrettes I’ve had in the past were either too sweet or too salty. For those of you who haven’t tried Quinoa, I highly recommend it for its taste and nutritional value. According to the National Institutes of HealthQuinoa, a grain originating in the Andes region of South America, is  a complete food due to its protein quality and is an important source of minerals and vitamins. The salad took roughly 7 minutes to prepare, which is extremely fast for any downtown restaurant at 1p.m. on a weekday.


Quinoa Greek Salad at Kasa. Photo taken by Unique Michael 

The salad’s architecture was truly stunning. The quinoa was formed into a circle and sat underneath a bed of lush mixed greens. The olives, onions, cheese, cranberries, tomatoes, and bell peppers were evenly placed on the very top of the salad, accompanied by a generous drizzle of tangy citrus vinaigrette. Normally, I take a picture first before taking the first bite. This time, I picked up my fork and took a giant bite of the salad – making sure to get a little bit of everything in one mouthful.

The soft quinoa and crisp mixed green beans complimented each other between the chewy tart cranberries and juicy Kalamata olives. I was able to taste the creamy feta cheese in every bite. Surprisingly, I fell in love with the citrus vinaigrette. The hints of orange and lemon took the salad to a new level. Despite my fears, it wasn’t too sweet or salty. Instead, the citrus vinaigrette tied every component of the salad beautifully. What’s most impressive about the salad is the portion. For $9, you get a big portion of salad. I’m surprised the quinoa didn’t spike the salad’s price up to $13 or $14.

If you haven’t been to Kasa yet, I’d recommend going for lunch. Why? There are plenty of healthy offerings and at a great price point. The service is always on point and you’re bound to find something – just ask the servers for their recommendations.

Kasa Tapas & Raw Bar on Urbanspoon

On April 23, 2014, I was graciously invited to a tasting event with Giriam Patel at his new Orlando Fresh To Order (f2o) restaurant located in Waterford Lakes Town Center at Alafaya Trail in East Orlando. Fresh To Order caters to all from meat lovers to pescetarians, vegetarians, vegans, and those who require gluten-free meals!

At Fresh To Order, the service was excellent as each person of their family is sweet and charming. They greet you with a smile from when you walk in to having small talk and suggesting great items from the menu that they, themselves, love. Also, while you enjoy a freshly made meal, you can bring your books and laptops to study for your classes!

Founded in 2006, Fresh To Order is a “fast-fine” restaurant and combines the quality of chef Inspired cuisine found in informal fine dining with the operating platform and price point of a fast casual restaurant. Founded on the vision of “Incredible Food, Service and Facilities,” Fresh To Order serves a menu of freshly prepared entrees, panini sandwiches, soups and salads in less than 10 minutes for around $10.

When they say “fresh”, they mean it – there are no walk-in freezers located at Fresh To Order. They only have a freezer to store their desserts and a walk-in cooler to keep their food fresh for the day. Fresh To Order receive shipments of food and prepare their ingredients in their kitchen every morning; this includes cleaning the squid, salmon, etc!


At this event, we were first served samples of warm soup with honey-glazed croissants. The soups rotate on the menu periodically and are house-made twice each day.


The Creamy Chicken Vegetable soup was my favorite. This soup was deliciously smooth and creamy, filled with flavor in every bite. This will be my “go-to” soup when it’s chilly out or if I’m in a mood for soup! There are chunks of chicken and sliced vegetables (ie carrots, etc) found in this dish.


The Wild Mushroom soup was made with Button and Portobello mushrooms creamed by a processor as well as small-diced mushroom for that minor chunky texture. I thought that this soup is a little sweet and easy to eat. This is my second favorite soup from f2o.


The Tomato Bisque soup is also another sweet but subtle soup with a hint of carrots.


The Chicken Tortilla soup isn’t creamy like the others and the flavors are a bit too intense for my taste. The Corn Chowder soup to the left of the Chicken Tortilla is spicy, but sweet. The spiciness comes from the jalapeños snuck into it and the corn chunks provide a second texture to the creamy processed soup itself.


In my opinion, the Ahi Tuna Steak has a nice, thin, crunchy coat made of rosemary, sesame seeds and crushed panko. The tuna was fried for 35 seconds before seared and laid on Asian cabbage with an apricot-ginger Dijon vinaigrette drizzled on top.


The Almond Chicken Skewers is one of my favorite dishes at f2o! The chicken is cut thin and has an almond rosemary crust. It is served with two sauces: a Thai peanut sauce made with peanut butter and a spicy chili with marmalade.


Tender Crispy Calamari added onto a Mediterranean Salad contains mixed greens, feta cheese, roasted tomatoes, olive salad, grilled onions, toasted almonds, fresh herbs, and red grapes. This salad is recommended with an Oriental apricot dressing that I also suggest you to order for the salad! The calamari is also fried with lemon slices coated with the same crunchy coating. The crispy calamari and lemon slices are delicious, but the lemon slices aren’t overpowering or tart if you try one! Together with the salad creates a mixture of flavors that you can pick out with your taste buds individually. If I were to decide to have a meatless meal and wanted a salad, this would be my top choice.


The Spinach Salad was served with raspberry vinaigrette and bourbon filet steak added to it. Alone, the Spinach Salad contains a seasonal fruit (this one had shredded mango!), spinach, strawberries, blue cheese crumbles, dried cherries, and almonds. On the other hand to the last salad mentioned, this is sweeter and refreshing. However, the sweetness is very bold so try not to drench your salad in the vinaigrette!


The Salmon Panini consists of bourbon-marinated salmon, avocado, lettuce, tarragon aioli, and corn cilantro relish. This is a healthy and delicious Panini. If you’d like to make it a bit healthier, you could switch the white bread to whole-wheat flat bread! I think the avocado is a little dense for my taste and overpowers the salmon. Other than that, I think this is a wonderful Panini with fresh salmon!


The Black Bean Burger consists of black beans, rice, avocado, house pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomatoes, corn relish, grilled wheat flat bread, and horseradish honey mustard. Unlike other black bean burgers you may have tried, the black bean patty does not fall apart on you! The texture was better than expected. However, if you don’t like jalapeños like myself, you may wish to order the burger without it because it can get quite spicy!


The Garlic Mashed Potatoes were delicious as ever and didn’t even need a drip of gravy on top to add flavor.


Instead of Garlic Mashed Potatoes, I prefer the Sweet Mashed Potatoes, as sweet potatoes are a healthier option! Also, f2o did a great job of giving it such flavors with their seasonings and walnuts.


If you’d like a more Southern dish, try the Garlic Jack Grit Cake as a side! This is very dense, but so amazing you’ll want to come back for seconds…and thirds.


The Chicken Wild Mushroom is a great dish if you’d like a mix of grilled chicken and mushrooms like I do! The chicken was cooked just right where the juices ran fresh with no hint of rawness to it. The roasted mushrooms on top of the chicken will add its own fresh texture to the meal.


The Grilled Salmon is topped with black bean orange sauce and roasted corn peanut relish. It normally comes with baby greens and wheat berry rice. All I can say is, the salmon is to die for!


These are only a few dishes that I tried with Giriam Patel at his restaurant – to go with it, you should try some house-made teas and lemonades like I did. The house-made teas and lemonades rotate weekly for new and exciting flavors to take a chance to wow you – even better, not only does Fresh To Order give free refills, but they encourage it and trying all of the teas and lemonades.

If you would like a wine or craft beer instead of tea, lemonade or your ordinary fountain drink, then don’t worry – Fresh To Order serves wine and craft beers too.

You didn’t think I left without trying some desserts did you?


A variety of cookies are available on hand and made fresh daily at Fresh To Order – Some of my favorites include the chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies! They also had white chocolate chip cookies and cranberry cookies.


The brownies were fudgy and like a slice of heaven! I could taste a hint of fruit, which may mean that they used dark chocolate to make the brownies!



Last but not least are icebox pies! In total, Fresh To Order serves Mini Mango Pie, Mini Key Lime Pie, Mini Chocolate Silk Pie, Mini Peanut Butter Pie, and Mini Seasonal Pie (ask for the seasonal flavors). I was able to try the Mini Key Lime Pie, Mini Chocolate Silk Pie, Mini Strawberry Pie, and Mini Banana Pie. I’m not sure which I like best because they were all uniquely tasteful.

Fresh To Order on Urbanspoon

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Thanksgiving is upon us once again – a time of great family fun and…well, you know, a bit of feasting.

We spoke to a few nutritionists and dietitians to get some tips on healthy eating this holiday season

Healthy Eating Tips from Carina Sohaili, Board Certified Celebrity Nutrition and Health Counselor and Founder of Vibrant Healthy Life

What are some tips for staying lean this holiday season, especially considering the hectic time schedule and travel?

1. Erase the “all or nothing” diet mentality. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they let themselves go. Indulge in a balanced way and be mindful of your portions. It is very easy to continuously overeat when you are around a large group of people who are overindulging and not aware of it.

2. Never leave the house starving without a healthy snack. The holiday season is hectic. Be a planner and keep a go-to snack with you at all times. Everyone has a different snack that works for them. I personally love a small apple and a couple of almonds; it works for my body and is a great healthy carbohydrate-protein-fat combination. Find a healthy snack that works for you and keep an extra in your car and purse.

3. Never fast in preparation for a huge meal. When you starve yourself during the day in preparation for a huge meal your body has a much harder time acknowledging when you are actually full. You also will get much more intense cravings for sugary and carbohydrate heavy sweets.

4. Make time for physical activity. Twenty minutes is all you need. Even if it is a fast walk around the block before dinner or a game of dancing charades: get creative and get your sweat on. Everything counts and something is better than nothing. Be smart about time and schedule in those twenty minutes daily. It will start becoming as easy as brushing your teeth.

What are some of the things to avoid or to look out for during the meal?

5. Never go to a meal starving.

6. Start with fiber rich greens and lean protein. Filling up on protein and fiber will keep you more full, satisfied and stabilize your blood sugar levels for a longer amount of time. This will help curb cravings for unhealthy foods, improve your energy levels and prevent you from overeating the bad stuff.

7. Simple, real and all natural is best. Eat real food. Steer clear of creamy thick sauces, excessive ingredients and fancy unnecessary toppings. Do not be shy to ask how the food is prepared. Get comfortable with making your health a priority.

Have a plan and keep yourself in check. Focus on why you are at the meal in the first place – to be around the people you love. It is never just all about the food. The holiday season is a time for friends and family. Not stuffing your face with food and feeling guilty afterwards.

8. You can live your life, be healthy and enjoy yourself this holiday season. Be a planner, practice new healthy habits, pay attention to how hungry you really are, and be aware of your environment so you do not eat excessively. For more quick tips you can connect with me via social media on Facebook and Twitter! Happy Holidays!


Carina Sohaili, Certified Celebrity Nutrition and Health Counselor, Foun...

About Carina Sohaili: Carina Sohaili is the founder of Vibrant Healthy Life and a Board Certified Celebrity Nutrition and Health Counselor. She graduated Cum Laude from George Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology where she developed a strong foundation in understanding human behavior. Working with Hollywood’s film executives, producers, actors and actresses, Carina also serves as a featured health expert, on-camera health, nutrition consultant, and is a regular “Mindful Munch” columnist on Guiliana Rancic’s Fab Fit Fun. She believes “everyone is a fingerprint, everyone is different; one person’s fuel is another person’s poison.” With her ability to combine her psychology and nutrition expertise, Carina helps create a personalized roadmap to health that suits each individual’s unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. http://www.vibranthealthylife.com/

3 Tips to Staying Lean this Holiday Season by Desiree Garrido, Vitality Expert, Coaching & Seminars

We’ve all been there, trying to eat healthfully and the the holiday season
comes and we get side swiped by all the tempting, rich and most of time
nutrient deficient foods that are at every holiday party spread.

9. Values

Write your values to anchor your actions.

Values simply mean the things that you hold super important for your life.
For example it can be health, fitness, family, love, compassion, etc.
Think of this as an “honoring thyself” system. Instead of framing the
holidays like, “I’m going to gain weight” think instead of, “I’m going to
live from my values and honor myself.”

10. Schedule it!

Once you get your values in place (and I hope that health/fitness/exercise
is one of them) schedule it in your calendar to do one thing a week that
honors one of those values. For example, for the value of Fitness,
schedule several fun physical activities with your partner, friends and
family. Get moving, this helps burn more calories, since likely you’ll be
consuming more calories during this holiday time. Think burn calories any
which way you can.

11. Your Highest Self

Think about it, is all that food (likely fried, heavy, rich, fattening,
unhealthy) and likely alcohol – going to serve your highest self? The one
that you know deep in your heart deserves to be thriving and not just
surviving. The answer is no. A bite, a taste, sure…but at the end of
the day (and holiday season) you will want to come out of it the winner of
the yearly battle. Remember, it’s all about choices. And when your choices
align with your values, highest most vitality-filled, activated self — you
will be more energized and fulfilled than any other holiday season, I

desireeDesiree Garrido, is a Vitality Expert, Coach and Seminar leader based in the SF Bay Area and certainly can help you with tips for staying lean this holiday season. Last November, she lead a Vitality workshop at a fitness club in the Francisco Bay Area on this exact topic and it was very successful and impactful for their members. She is  not a registered dietitian nor nutritionist, but she has been a personal trainer, fitness professional, collegiate athlete and was born with a skin condition called Psoriasis that she has been 99% clear of without any medications but by simply studying and changing her nutrition and lifestyle. Today, she coaches private clients and hold seminars on achieving a life activated and thriving and much of that journey starts with understanding your relationship to food, your body and your values. http://www.desireegarrido.com/


Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays – Cari Coulter, registered and licensed dietitian

Unfortunately, holiday parties present individuals attempting to follow a
heart-healthy or diabetes diet with a number of challenges. Here are a few
general tips to help people make the best of the situation:

12) Plan Ahead. The internet is awash with healthy holiday tips and
places millions of recipes for all types of dietary restrictions at your
fingertips. Many of these recipes do an excellent job of replicating
traditional holiday favorites. Taking some time to identify and test out
recipes that have been modified to meet your dietary requirements will allow
you to enjoy your holiday meal without feeling restricted.

13) One heart healthy and diabetic friendly strategy for keeping your
meal under control is to utilize the plate method where you fill half your
plate with nonstarchy vegetables (i.e. salad with nonfat dressing, grilled
green and orange veggies) and split the second half of your plate evenly
between lean protein (i.e. baked ham, chicken, or turkey without skin) and
starch (i.e. potatoes, rice, bread). You can do the same with your
appetizer plate by filling half of it with items from the fruit or veggie
tray and placing something like cheese and crackers on the second half). If
you find yourself still hungry after this food, try to only take seconds of
nonstarchy vegetables and possibly a little more lean protein. This is also
a useful tip for an individual trying to control portion size to minimize
calorie intake.

14) Think fat free/low fat substitutions. Replacing foods and
ingredient items with their lower and fat free counterpart is another great
way to lower the fat and calorie content of your meal without feeling
deprived as you don’t necessarily need to give something up. For example,
use fat free instead of regular sour cream on your baked potato or in your
veggie dip, substitute pureed vegetables or fat free evaporated milk to
thicken a soup, or use pureed pumpkin or applesauce in your baked goods
instead of butter. Again, this allows you to still consume your traditional
holiday favorites while still following your dietary restrictions.

15) The more fruits and vegetable options you introduce to the meal, the
more likely they are to take up room on your plate and in your stomach,
leaving less room for the less healthy options. So, bringing a fruit or
veggie tray as an appetizer for a potluck or a salad or broth based
vegetable soup as a side dish are good ideas. I would also suggest you
bring a healthy alternative of a favorite dish if you know you’ll be tempted
by a less healthy version, i.e. if you know you’re going to want dessert,
offer to bring a fat free brownie and some fat free frozen yogurt so that
you know there will definitely be at least one healthy dessert option

16) What I definitely do not recommend is skipping meals beforehand to “save”
calories for your big meal. You may end up so famished that you have
absolutely no self control while at the holiday party and consume thousands
of extra calories, even though you only skipped the 400 that a healthy lunch
would have contained.

Cari Coulter-WellspringCari is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a certificate in Childhood and Adolescent weight management. She is the director of Wellspring Wisconsin. http://www.wellspringweightloss.com/




What are some tips for staying lean this holiday season, especially considering the hectic time schedule and travel?

Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere! Well, I love pumpkin just as much as the next Starbucks drive-through-er, but lets face it, those pumpkin spice lattes (or PSL’s as the cool kids call it) do not help with keeping the pounds off! So, what can we do to stay lean during this hectic holiday season? Here are a few of my favorite tips:

17. Don’t forget your exercise routine! Let’s face it…it’s easy to skip the morning jog or gym trip with family and friends in town; however, one simple way of staying trim like the Christmas tree is to stay in your exercise routine.

18. Fill up on salad, not bread. As a rule of thumb, salad is more filling than bread. You will consume an extraordinary amount of calories if you reach for the bread first. Go ahead and pass the bread basket to the person next to you.

19. Watch those chocolate martinis. Alcoholic beverages are typically packed full of sugar and calories. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a few drinks, because I know you will anyway- BUT choose wisely. Go for the simple cocktails like vodka tonic or rum and diet coke. Avoid those sugary “holiday-ish” beverages.

20. Pack goodie-bags for traveling. I tell all of my frequent traveler patients this: pack snack size Ziploc bags with almonds, healthy trail mix, or cereal. Keep them with you while traveling, so there is less temptation to go for that $10 bag of M&M’s at the airport gift shop. A little planning ahead can save you a lot of calories and money!

What are some of the things to avoid or to look out for during the meal?

There are a few things to watch out for in general, and some things to avoid completely.
21. No eggnog. Did you know that ONE serving of eggnog has approximately 250 calories? (And we all know that we don’t just have one serving!)

22. No gravy. Mainly because it is made out of…fat.

23. Nothing with “cream” or “candied” in the name. Creamed spinach, cream of mushroom or chicken soup (in every casserole, practically), candied yams.

24. Cheesecake. Yes. Out of all desserts, this one typically takes the “cake” in terms of calories. One piece of cheesecake can have up to 700 calories! Alternative? Chocolate dipped strawberries or a cookie or two.

25. Those tempting Starbucks drinks. Here’s a simple example. A grande white chocolate peppermint mocha has 540 calories. No, no and no.

7f36e3910bbe4565ac2e06304205116dDr. Tiffany Sizemore-Ruiz (Dr. “T”) is a board certified internist, special interests in cardiovascular health and preventative medicine. Dr. T takes a “tough love” approach to patient care, and communicates with her patients on a personal level. A Magna Cum Laude graduate from Florida Atlantic University at the age of 19, with a B.S. in Psychobiology, Dr. T advanced to become the youngest graduate from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Dr. T is a Cardiology fellow at Palmetto General Hospital; the Chair of the American Heart Association’s “Circle of Red” committee focusing on women’s health issues; is on the Executive Leadership Board for the AHA’s Greater Fort Lauderdale/Miami chapter; and was the only Florida recipient of TopDoc 2013 honors awarded by Concierge Medicine Today. She operates her concierge medicine practice, Choice Physicians of South Florida, with her husband, Dr. Camilo Ruiz, a board certified internist and sleep specialist. http://www.sizemoreheart.com/

Erika Kaufman, RD, LD, offers tips by helping get through the holiday social scene, with these great tips:

26. Eat something at home before a party to help avoid a calorie overload. Do not starve yourself! When you’re starving, you tend to eat faster than usual, and since it takes your brain around 15 minutes to recognize fullness, overeating is a big problem. Also, it is harder to make healthy choices and resist even slight temptations when you’re ravenous. Eating a balanced diet throughout your day will help maintain appropriate levels of blood sugar, energy and satisfaction. These factors have a significant and positive effect on your will power and level of motivation.

27. Avoid alcohol. If you can avoid alcohol, do. Alcohol adds around 100 calories per serving (this would be a jigger of vodka or a small 4oz glass of wine). This might not sound like much, but, how many of us can limit ourselves once we start drinking to just 4oz of wine? Keep in mind this is just the alcohol; mixed drinks contain even more calories, so an 8oz margarita can have more than 400 calories! Alcohol also allows us to make decisions without really having to think about the consequences as much, so if you drink, you are likely to eat more as well.

28. Enjoy the holiday party food without eating too much. Focus on the social aspect instead of the food. Use this time to catch up with old friends/family. Do not stand right next to the food table, or put your back to it; you eventually will give in to those cupcakes after 60 minutes of staring at them. Carry a glass of water or a diet drink in one hand and your purse in the other, limiting your ability to grab more food mindlessly. Instead of bringing the host wine, bring a healthy food item that you enjoy eating; this way if there is nothing else healthy, you can have something to eat (more people will appreciate this than you realize).

29. You CAN enjoy desserts during the holidays without gaining weight! Be picky! Don’t just take spoonfuls/bites of desserts that are not that appealing to you. Make a conscious decision to have a small piece of your favorite dessert and indulge in that moment. Let yourself enjoy the experience; this will be more satisfying and will help you stay away from all the other desserts.

30. There are foods you can enjoy besides the veggie tray. Fruit is a good option. Look for simple dishes where you can see the ingredients so that you have more control over what you are eating. Look for lean protein options like small deli sandwiches or shrimp with cocktail sauce. Avoid premade salads like chicken salad and tuna salads (there usually is a lot of mayo and all sorts of calorically-dense ingredients included).

ErikaKaufman-BWsmallErika Kaufman, RD, LD, earned a BS in Nutritional Sciences and completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics from the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in weight management, diabetes care, gestational diabetes, pediatric nutrition, sports nutrition, cardiovascular nutrition and optimal pregnancy nutrition. The Houstonian Club is an award-winning facility with 175,000 square feet of space offering 250 fitness machines, 150 group exercises a week on land, and 45 on water, 37 personal trainers, nutritionists, a rock climbing wall, yoga, Pilates, a full-size basketball court, martial arts, boxing, three pools and much more. For more information on The Houstonian Club, visit www.houstonian.com<http://www.houstonian.com/>





2 tips for you from a registered dietitian with 20+ years in food service operations – Dirk Noteboom

31. Watch out for the hidden fats in holiday foods*; people go all out and
want holiday meals to taste like mom used to make, so dishes will have lots
of eggs, heavy cream, cheese, butter….all the good stuff. Unfortunately
all the good stuff can easily triple and sometimes quadruple the fat and
calories in a dish (everything from stuffing, veges, sauces, desserts).

32. Watch the beverages you consume during the holidays*. As you go off
your normal diet and partake of eggnog, regular beverages, etc., you can
easily consume from several hundred to several thousand calories very
quickly and easily. For example, it is not unusual for a serving of eggnog
to have 450 calories and 20 grams of fat…all before you add any extra
“punch” to the mix.”

DirkNoteboom_large (1)Dirk Noteboom is VP of Culinary Nutrition Services <http://www.nourishyourcommunity.com/> (CNS) and is available to offer more tips and answer any other questions you may have.









Yuri Elkaim’s Holiday Tips!

33. Before your meal have a glass of lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added. Doing so helps to curb your appetite so you eat less, increases stomach acid secretion (which is essential for good digestion), and lowers the glycemic load of the coming meal so that you can have up and down blood sugar responses.

34. Take a digestive enzyme before and with your meal. Most people suffer through heavy holiday meals because their digestive systems are suffering from years of abuse. Taking a digestive enzyme along with your meal can rev up your digestion and make it easier to process all of those heavy foods.

35. Do a set of push-ups or bodyweight squats before you start eating. Yes, it sounds funny but the reason for this is that exercise opens up your muscles cells for maximum nutrient and calorie uptake upon eating. If you’re going to eat a lot of food you might as well ensure that it’s going to your muscles and not sitting around in your fat cells. A few simple exercises before you start eating can do the trick.

36. Bring Your own Treats to the party! Yes, there are a ton of options outside the traditional high-sugar, gluten-infested treats. For most baked goods almond flour is the ultimate healthy alternative to wheat because it’s gluten-free. Not only that but it’s natural moistness brings a whole new level of moist taste to your cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.

37. And instead of using sugar for sweetness (which sends your blood sugar soaring) try using Stevia instead. Stevia has no impact on your blood sugar and thus is much better for diabetics (and pretty much everyone).

For instance, here’s an amazing brownie recipe that will blow your mind (and your tastebuds). And you’ll be shocked to find out that it’s based on black beans!

• 1 can of black beans, well rinsed and drained
• 3 large eggs
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1?4 cup cocoa powder
• 4 pinches stevia
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1?4 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Rinse and drain the black beans well
3. Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender and
blend until very smooth
4. Stir in chocolate chips
5. Pour batter into an 8-inch square buttered baking pan
6. Bake at 350F for 30-32 minutes
7. Brownies are ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean

Or, try these “Coconut Truffles” instead of those oreo cookies…


• 2 cups dates, pitted
• 2 cups pecans, presoaked
• 1 tbsp cacao powder
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1?2 cup dried shredded coconut


1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until the mixture becomes smooth and forms a ball.
2. Roll mixture into small balls (should yield about 36) and roll in shredded coconut for coating.

For ice cream, try this dairy-free “Strawberry-Banana Gelato”:


• 2 ripe bananas, frozen
• 2 cups strawberries, frozen


1. Peel and chop ripe bananas and store in freezer until frozen. Freeze strawberries as well.
2. Place frozen fruit in a food processor and blend until creamy smooth.

YuriElkaim4906fwYuri is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Fitness Expert. Yuri began his love of fitness at age 4 (when he first starting playing soccer) & love for nutrition in his early twenties as a way of improving his own health. At age 17, he developed the autoimmune Disease Alopecia and lost all his hair. This peaked his interest in eating correctly. He has one of the top health podcasts on Itunes with over 5,000 downloads a day! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/super-nutrition-academy-health/id605514232 .

Meet Food Expert and Nutritionist Yuri Elkaim, Author of “Eating for Energy,” and Fitness and Health Expert… http://www.supernutritionacademy.com www.facebook.com/yurielkaim1 www.youtube.com/yelkaim1

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Better Food Picks

It can be a challenge to eat healthy on a budget when dining out. There isn’t always an all-around healthy choice.

Sometimes you can only compare and make the best choice with what’s available to you, and with what you can afford.

Here is a list of better food picks at some popular restaurants. Use this to guide some of your decisions when dining out.

McDonald’s $1 Breakfast Menu

  • Sausage Burrito. The Sausage Burrito is a better pick than the Sausage Biscuit or Sausage McMuffin.
  • Hash brown. Only eat one.
  • Coffee. Coffee is a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants. Be mindful of what you put in it. Go easy on the cream and sugar.

McDonald’s $1 Lunch or Dinner Menu

  • Side Salad. Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. We have to make an effort to eat more of them even when we don’t feel like it. Our health depends on it. Choose a light salad dressing like the low fat balsamic vinaigrette or low fat Italian dressing.
  • Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger. This burger is a better pick than the McChicken or McDouble sandwich.
  • Fruit N’ Yogurt Parfait. The parfait is a better pick than the ice cream cone or chocolate chip cookie because it has fruit in it. It’s a more nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth too.


Panera Bread

  • Bagels. I recommend the Whole Grain, Plain, Sesame or Everything bagel because these bagels have less fat and sugar in them. The Whole Grain bagel has three times more fiber than some of the other bagels offered at Panera. Enjoy your bagel with a reduced fat cream cheese spread.
  • Soup. A cup of Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean, Low-Fat Garden Vegetable with Pesto or Low-Fat Chicken Noodle soup are healthier options because they have less saturated fat than many of the other soups. Avoid ordering creamy soups too often. A cup of New England Clam Chowder packs a whopping 27 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat is considered one of the “bad” fats because it raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Sandwiches. There are so many to choose from. Smoked Turkey Breast on Country, Mediterranean Veggie on Tomato Basil, Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT on Sourdough, Tuna Salad on Honey Wheat and Napa Almond Chicken Salad on Sesame Semolina are some of the lighter picks. If you order a heftier sandwich like the Big Kid Grilled Cheese on All-Natural White Miche, Italian Combo on Ciabatta or Steak & White Cheddar on French Baguette order half a sandwich. Many of these sandwiches contain half the total calories you need in a day.



  • Calories add up quickly when creating the perfect Burrito. Pick your favorite meat or go meatless, but be topping conscious. Focus on food that comes from plant sources. Go whole grain and choose brown rice over white rice. Add your favorite beans, vegetables and salsa. Guacamole would be a better topping than cheese and sour cream, but if you decide to add cheese and sour cream make a little go a long way.
  • The Burrito Bowl and Salad. Choosing to have rice or a tortilla (not both) is a great option. The tortilla is 290 calories alone. For diabetics especially, watching carbohydrate content is critical. It’s a good habit to limit meals to include only one grain serving.


Lechoneras/Latin Carryout

  • As hard as it may be limit the amount of fried selections you choose. Maduros, tostones, empanadas, alcapurrias, chuletas and bacalao frito should be enjoyed in moderation. Try to choose baked, roasted or stewed dishes made with leaner cuts of meat such as pollo al horno, bistec, bacalao guisado and carne de res guisada.
  • Eat beans and all your vegetables. This will add fiber to your meal and aid with digestion.
  • Most Latin restaurants serve generous portions of food. Take some home. Save some for later. Enjoy your meal all over again.



If I was given $10 to spend dining out for the whole day, I would budget approximately $3.33 for each meal.

  • For breakfast I would order the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal from McDonald’s without brown sugar or cream and a Sausage Burrito. It’s likely I would only eat the eggs in the burrito. I would drink water.
  • For lunch I would go to the Caribbean market down the street from my job that sells hot food. I would order rice, beans, and roasted chicken. They usually give large portions of food so I would try to stretch leftovers to the next meal or snack. Again, I would just drink water.
  • For dinner I would order the Grilled Chicken Go Wrap without sauce from Wendy’s and a Garden Side Salad with a vinaigrette dressing. I would drink water.

M AliMaria Ali is the Nutrition Manager at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Since joining the food bank in 2010, she has implemented nutrition education programs and has fostered the progress of several of the food bank’s nutrition initiatives which includes: a nutrition committee, a nutrition strategic planning workshop, and a wellness program for staff. Additionally, she serves as a Board Member of the Orlando Dietetic Association and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ms. Ali strives to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle by sharing her passion for nutrition through teaching, speaking, and social media.

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Celebration Exotic Car Festival Portofino Food and Wine 2013

Eating out all the time can lead to quite a few health consequences ranging from obesity to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and digestive issues or worse. Restaurant meals are often sized large enough for at least two servings and can contain a full day’s worth of saturated fat and sodium.

Of course, moderation is key and choosing wisely and having a healthy balanced lifestyle is a big part of that.

As part of a new series here at TastyChomps.com, we will be exploring how to eat healthier while eating out at restaurants as well as changes we can make to our diets to improve our health. This conversation will be lead by registered dietitians and nutritionists in our community.

As always, consult your doctor first if you have any questions or concerns about your health.



Five Tips to Healthy Eating While Eating Out

by Maria Ali, RD, LD/N of Second Harvest Food Bank

If you’re trying to be health conscious when dining out, you’ll want to avoid fried foods, heavily salted foods and very sweet foods. Sounds almost impossible doesn’t it?

Dining out should be an enjoyable experience. Sometimes it’s best to leave the strict food rules at home. Here are a few tips that hopefully won’t leave you feeling deprived:


· Choose water.

Save calories and few dollars by drinking the “free” beverage.


· Include vegetables.

If your meal doesn’t come with vegetables, order them as a side item or substitute a less healthy side, like fries, for a salad.


· Watch your portions.

Many restaurants serve meals that are 2-4 times the recommended serving size. It’s a good idea to plan for leftovers or share your meal to limit the amount of food you consume at that sitting.


· Ask for things “on the side.”

When it’s appropriate, ask for creamy salad dressings, toppings like mayo or sour cream, and even butter topping on the side. Save fat by spreading less of these sauces and toppings on your food.


· Don’t do it too much.

It’s important to find that personal balance of dining out, cooking at home, and exercise. I recommend keeping exercise and preparing meals at home the foundation, and dining out the splurge.

If you dine out often and don’t tend to order the most health conscious meals, up your movement to avoid putting on extra weight. Walk after meals. Hit the gym. Dance on the weekends.

M AliMaria Ali, RD, LD/N is the Nutrition Manager at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Since joining the food bank in 2010, she has implemented nutrition education programs and has fostered the progress of several of the food bank’s nutrition initiatives which includes: a nutrition committee, a nutrition strategic planning workshop, and a wellness program for staff. Additionally, she serves as a Board Member of the Orlando Dietetic Association and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ms. Ali strives to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle by sharing her passion for nutrition through teaching, speaking, and social media. You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/MorThanCalories and @morthancalories on twitter.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series as we continue discussion with Ms. Maria Ali, Nutrition Manager at Second Harvest Food Bank.

Check out Second Harvest’s events calendar http://blog.feedhopenow.org/events/ and upcoming Guest Chef Nights on October 21 and November 21.

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