I hope you are all good and had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season that is fast approaching (see below for my upcoming International Holiday Dinner for an indulging option!) . As we all know, these times can be stressful and with plenty of entertaining, it may be hard to maintain a healthy eating regimen (believe me, i know after this weekend!). If you would like to set up some coaching classes, coaching calls or cooking classes in December, or offer them as a gift to a loved one, please reach out to me directly to set these up. I’d love to help.
MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES: HEALTHY OR HYPE?
I’d like to share my thoughts on these meal delivery cooking services that are becoming ubiquitous. I have been trying the service from “Plated” for a few weeks as well as “Hello Fresh”. I was curious to see if there were good healthy options available . As you know, my motto is “you don’t have to be wealthy to be healthy” and i thought that these meals can help many people on the hard task to eat more plant-centric dishes. I’m always in favor of ways to make it easier to cook for people through my cooking and coaching classes with plenty of tips, techniques and advise. Overall, i found these services a fairly good option for people that don’t have much time to plan and shop in order to cook.
Having measured ingredients from pre-selected menus, with easy to follow instructions and delivered to your door is a win win from my point of view if people can get to cooking instead of ordering takeout with another myriad of services that now offer that (seamless, grubhub etc..). A trainer i used to have always mentioned that you have already won the bronze medal just by showing up at the gym for a class. I would say in a similar way, you get a medal just for showing up at your kitchen ready to cook from real ingredients! Having said that, I was surprised to see that the calorie portion of these (all vegetarian, some vegan) options i reviewed could easily top the 700 and up calorie range per portion. That is all an improvement when compared to the meat centric dishes! However, a very easy way to adjust this to a more reasonable level is to cut (or preferably) eliminate the use of oils from the recipe. Once again, that no-oil sauteeing technique i teach comes in rather handy for most all of the recipes involved. This allows to cut back anywhere between 150 or more calories per serving, leaving ample room for a nice salad to begin the meal and a piece of fruit as dessert for a really nutrient-dense dinner. Read: yes, you still have to shop at some point! Moreover, feel free to further enrich your recipes by adding more vegetables that you may have at hand, something that would continue lowering the calorie count of the meal, and increase the nutrient density of the plate. As an example, i added broccoli florets to a roasted sweet potatoes with braised greens salad (pictured above). I could have added a whole medley of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower florets and as an added benefit, this would even stretch the meal (that was meant to provide 2 servings) to 3 servings: voila, lunch for tomorrow is ready!
I would have liked the services to have more vegetarian options, and vegan in particular. I also noted that many of these options tended to provide about a half a block of tofu per person (and a lot of the vegetarian and vegan options almost always had tofu), way over the recommended amount, and clearly based on no other reason than to add “protein” to the dish. I love tofu, i just see no reason to force feed it in such large amounts! Again, you can always cut back on the amount added and use it for another recipe. Finally, as is the case in lots of restaurants, the use of dairy and particularly cheese, is abused big time when making vegetarian options and i would have also liked to see more vegetarian options that had no cheese in it (most of the times i would simply omit the cheese in the recipe, cutting back a hefty amount of calories and fat at the same time). I will perhaps continue looking for other services (Purple Carrot: I’m watching you!) and see what works and what does not work. In any case, give it a go if you are curious with some of my suggestions and you
Please join me for an International Holiday Dinner Party!. I am partnering with Customs Catering for their 1st Annual Holiday Demo & Dinner Party on Saturday December 12th @ Kitchen Rental NYC located at 306 West 51st Street between 8th and 9th Ave. Space is limited to 18 guests, so reserve as soon as possible and come with a friend! I will be making a 3 course menu with dishes from around the world with a first course salad with salmon rillette (spread) on sourdough bread from France, a hearty “Pastel de Choclo”, a Chilean version of a chicken pot pie with a corn crust on top and an Almond Cake with Mascarpone and Raspberry Pomegranate Compote to represent Italy. You will also learn how to do the first course through a demo i’ll do!. Hope to see you there! Link for the tickets below and more information below.
EMAIL CUSTOMSCATERING @ GMAIL.COM TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY! Please include names and what type of “ticket” (with alcohol or without) SPACE IS LIMITED TO ONLY 18! Please go to PayPal.Me/customscatering to pay $125 p/p for demo and dinner with a cocktail and wine, or $100 p/p for demo and dinner with a mocktail and non-alcoholic sparkling cider. Any questions, please call Mary Reilly at 917-363-9860. Kitchen Rental NYC is located on the ground floor of 306 W. 51 Street between 8th & 9th Avenues. Please arrive on Saturday, December 12, 2015 between 6:30 pm – 7 pm for your welcome cocktail and light bites. The evening will end at 10:30 pm.