Category Archives: In Season

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

wt_healthyholidays

Can you believe it?  The hol­i­days are here! And while it’s a sea­son of shar­ing and giv­ing, much of the time, it’s also the sea­son for indulging.  Candy, cook­ies, cakes…and lots of BIG meals. With­out totally deny­ing our kids (and our­selves), there are a few things we advise par­ents to do so you can keep your family’s eat­ing habits in check dur­ing the season.

  1. Stay Active Together
    Time off of school and work means you’ll have a few days to fill. Walk to the park, make an obsta­cle course in the back­yard, play in the snow, rake leaves into piles per­fect for jumping…make time for out­door activ­i­ties every day.
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
    It’s tough, with all of the won­der­ful sea­sonal treats…but if you don’t keep sweets in your house, you won’t have to deny your­self or your kids every time you see something.
  3. Snack Healthy
    With every­one off of a reg­u­lar rou­tine, it’s easy to want to nib­ble all day. So stock up with healthy snacks—mandarin oranges, part-skim string cheese, whole-wheat crack­ers, and gra­nola bars are favorites for kids and adults alike.
  4. Bake Healthy Treats
    Cook­ies and can­dies are fun to make (and eat), but this year, do some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent by bak­ing up some health­ier treats. Gra­nola is a sim­ple, fun, and deli­cious treat that’s fun to give as gifts, too. Add your favorite mix-ins (dried fruits, seeds, nuts, or even a few choco­late chips!) to make it your own. Scoop into mason jars and tie with fes­tive rib­bon for a pretty and tasty home­made gift.

 

Let’s Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

graphic-cincodemayo

Today is Tues­day is May 5th, or as it’s called in both Mex­ico and the United States…Cinco de Mayo! Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the cel­e­bra­tion of Mexico’s inde­pen­dence. Instead, it is a day to com­mem­o­rate the Mex­i­can vic­tory over France in the Bat­tle of Puebla in 1862.

Each year on the 5th of May, Mex­i­can and Amer­i­can fam­i­lies cel­e­brate by indulging in Mex­i­can cui­sine, putting up Mexican-style dec­o­ra­tions, and singing and danc­ing to tra­di­tional Mex­i­can music. Cinco de Mayo is a great hol­i­day to expand your family’s culi­nary hori­zons by encour­ag­ing them to try authen­tic Mex­i­can dishes such as: Chile rel­leno, a stuffed pep­per dish that orig­i­nated in Puebla; Mole sauce, a home­made sauce that’s used in numer­ous cuisines and can made using pep­pers, bananas, pump­kin seeds, and even choco­late; Tamales, con­sist­ing of a spiced meat mix­ture which is wrapped in masa and cooked inside a corn husk. Not only is Mex­i­can food deli­cious, but many of the dishes are easy to make.

Cinco de Mayo dec­o­ra­tions include piñatas, som­breros, and mara­cas. But you can also get in the spirit by wear­ing green, white, and red on your cloth­ing, the col­ors of the Mex­i­can flag. Cinco de Mayo has been cel­e­brated every year for more than 150 years….so put on a som­brero, grab your mara­cas, and let’s all cel­e­brate together!

Earth Day is in April

earthday-shutterstock_250240966

Every year since 1970, Earth Day has been observed in the U.S. on the same day — April 22nd.  That’s a tra­di­tion of more than 40 years!

The idea for Earth Day came from John McConnell, a vision­ary activist for peace, while attend­ing the UNESCO (United Nations Edu­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Orga­ni­za­tion) con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco, Cal­i­for­nia in 1969.  The pur­pose of this con­fer­ence is to encour­age inter­na­tional peace and uni­ver­sal respect for human rights by pro­mot­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion among nations.

Mr. McConnell orig­i­nally intended Earth Day to be a one day event to honor the earth and the con­cept of peace but in many places Earth Day has turned into a week-long cel­e­bra­tion com­plete with fun fam­ily fes­ti­vals, baby tree plant­i­ngs, and oodles of healthy nat­ural foods.

There is no bet­ter way to honor our earth than to con­sume foods the way nature intended…..by eat­ing green.  Eat­ing green is a grow­ing trend that focuses on select­ing “green” foods such as fruits, nuts, legumes, veg­eta­bles and whole grains; and eat­ing less red or processed meat.  You’ll see this week’s WT Café menu reflects a green menu.

As a par­ent con­cerned with the qual­ity of foods your chil­dren eat, you should be informed about how our gov­ern­ment decides foods that are deemed “safe to eat.”  About a month ago the U.S. Fed­eral Drug Admin­is­tra­tion qui­etly deemed a large num­ber of genet­i­cally mod­i­fied apples and pota­toes as “safe to eat”. These apples were genet­i­cally mod­i­fied (a process that for­ever alters the DNA of the fruit) to con­tain less of the enzymes that cause apples to bruise eas­ily and to turn brown when sliced open.  That means less waste and bad crop for the apple farm­ers, but what does it mean for con­sumers and espe­cially our youngest generation?

Many Euro­pean coun­tries, like Rus­sia and the UK, have already banned cer­tain types of GMOs for human con­sump­tion.  Let’s choose our food sci­ence exper­i­ments wisely in our coun­try too.  With so many fast and processed foods within easy reach not to men­tion the insid­i­ous draw of hand­held com­put­ers, keep­ing our kids healthy is an uphill bat­tle already!  We don’t need some­thing else to leave us ques­tion­ing what is safe or not safe to feed their young, devel­op­ing bodies.

As you and your fam­ily cel­e­brate Earth Day this year don’t for­get, the Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth.  This Earth Day and every one here­after, let’s vow to make life bet­ter for our kids, not worse.

year-of-the-goat

Celebrating the Lunar New Year with Traditional Delicacies!

year-of-the-goat

At WT Café we’re excited to cel­e­brate the Lunar New Year with mil­lions across the world.  Food is sym­bolic of rich his­tory and tra­di­tion, and we love find­ing new and excit­ing rea­sons to expand our menu!  The Lunar New Year gives us good rea­son.  It is a 15 day cel­e­bra­tion that begins this year on Feb­ru­ary 19th.

Where did this hol­i­day orig­i­nate?  Born out of fear and myth, an ancient Chi­nese leg­end tells the story of a wild beast named “Nien” (which actu­ally trans­lates to “year”) that used to attack Chi­nese vil­lages at the end of each year. The vil­lagers turned to loud noises and bright lights to scare Nien away, and the tra­di­tion was born.

Today, the Lunar New Year is observed by mil­lions in not only China but also Indone­sia, Malaysia, and many other coun­tries. The fes­ti­val is filled with cus­toms intent on bring­ing peo­ple together. The first week of the New Year fea­tures the sec­ond day of the New Year when time is to be spent with imme­di­ate fam­ily and in-laws and the sev­enth day of the New Year is a time to throw par­ties in cel­e­bra­tion of everyone’s birthday.

Of course, what kind of event would it be with­out some delec­table edi­bles?  Tra­di­tional Lunar New Year del­i­ca­cies include: Gok Jai which are cookie pock­ets filled with peanuts, coconut, and sesame, Nan Gao (rice pud­ding), and Jau Goks (crispy dumplings). The fes­ti­val closes on March 5th this year with the famous and beau­ti­ful Lantern Fes­ti­val. The Lantern Fes­ti­val offi­cially marks the end­ing of the New Year fes­tiv­i­ties by illu­mi­nat­ing the night sky with mil­lions of lanterns.  Lucky you if you can catch one where you live.  It’s a mag­i­cal event.

WT Café can help you start your Lunar New Year off right with some excit­ing from-scratch choices such as our sig­na­ture Asian Salad made with romaine, edamame, shred­ded car­rots, and our tangy house-made Asian Gin­ger dress­ing.  Also debut­ing this month is our Chicken and Veg­gie Pot­stick­ers served with our WT soy dip­ping sauce and our brand new Won­ton Soup!   With WT Café, the cel­e­bra­tion can con­tinue through­out the month of Feb­ru­ary and your chil­dren can join the mil­lions across the world ring­ing in the Lunar New Year.  That’s what we love about food….if you do it right, there’s never a dull moment.

Happy New Year!

avacado

Super Food of the Month – Avocado

avacado

No big game party spread is com­plete with­out gua­camole! One of the rea­sons gua­camole is such a fab­u­lous game day option, is just how ver­sa­tile it is. It can be served as a condi­ment on your favorite burger or sand­wich, as filler in stuffed mush­rooms or dev­iled eggs, and of course as a dip for every­thing from your favorite chips to veg­gie spears. The key ingre­di­ent in gua­camole is of course the avocado.

Though avo­ca­dos are native to Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, thanks mainly in part to gua­camole, they have become a huge part of America’s big game tra­di­tion. Just a lit­tle over ten years ago only 8 mil­lion pounds of avo­ca­dos were con­sumed in the United States dur­ing the biggest game of the year. How­ever, in 2013 it was esti­mated that num­ber had risen to more than 79 mil­lion pounds. What makes the avo­cado such a pop­u­lar choice among many American’s isn’t just its ver­sa­til­ity as an ingre­di­ent, but its numer­ous health benefits.

Rich and creamy avo­ca­dos are a won­der­ful source of nutri­ents as well as healthy fat. Avo­ca­dos are high in Vit­a­min K and fiber, as well as mag­ne­sium, phos­pho­rus, iron, and potas­sium. In fact, accord­ing to the New York Uni­ver­sity Lan­gone Med­ical Cen­ter, avo­ca­dos actu­ally con­tain “even more potas­sium per gram than bananas…” They have also shown to help lower cho­les­terol, reg­u­late blood sugar as well as blood pres­sure, reduce the risk of can­cer, aid in diges­tion, and help to main­tain a healthy weight.

With the enor­mous num­ber of dishes that can be pre­pared using avo­ca­dos, their almost unri­valed health ben­e­fits, and the big game fast approach­ing, it’s should come as no sur­prise that avo­ca­dos are Whole­some Tum­mies Super Food for the month of January!

For unique ways to serve your favorite gua­camole recipe dur­ing the biggest game of the year, click the link: http://bzfd.it/1KfD9re

And to learn more about the incred­i­ble health ben­e­fits avo­ca­dos can pro­vide your fam­ily, fol­low the link: http://bit.ly/1o08PEL

pomegranates

Super Food of the Month – Pomegranate

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While Decem­ber may not seem like a month to fea­ture fresh grown fruits and veg­eta­bles, that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.  Each month of the year brings with it deli­cious fruits and veg­eta­bles that are in sea­son. First grown in Per­sia, Pome­gran­ate is one of the old­est known fruits and packs a wal­lop of nutri­tion in every bite.

In the pome­gran­ate, the month of Decem­ber offers a delight­ful fruit that can be used in many of your clas­sic hol­i­day recipes. Hol­i­day favorites such as sweet pota­toes can be coated with a pome­gran­ate glaze, iced tea can be served hot or cold with just a hint of pome­gran­ate juice, and your stan­dard stuff­ing can be tweaked for the hol­i­days by adding pome­gran­ate to it. Pome­gran­ate is espe­cially use­ful in hol­i­day recipes because it stores so well. With proper seal­ing and refrig­er­a­tion, pome­gran­ate should keep for up to 2 months.

The savory taste of pome­gran­ate is only rivaled by its almost unmatched health ben­e­fits. Pome­gran­ate con­tains a pow­er­ful com­pound called puni­cala­gin. Puni­cala­gin is found only in pome­gran­ate and has shown to lower cho­les­terol as well as increase the speed at which heart block­ages go away. Pome­gran­ate is also one of the most pow­er­ful anti-oxidants of all fruits. These are just a few of the many health ben­e­fits pome­gran­ate pro­vides, and med­ical stud­ies are find­ing more and more every year.

While peel­ing off the tough outer layer of pome­gran­ate fruit just to get to the seeds and juices may seem like a lot of work, the end­less recipe uses and health ben­e­fits make it well worth it.  It’s easy to see why it’s Whole­some Tum­mies choice for Super Food for the month of December!

For more pomegranate-centric recipes, fol­low the link: http://abt.cm/1cQKnld

And for more on the won­der­ful health ben­e­fits pome­gran­ate can pro­vide you and your loved ones, click the link: http://bit.ly/11SbPgN.  Enjoy!

healthyholidays

Healthy Holiday Eating and Family Cooking Tips

healthyholidays

Just because the hol­i­days are here again doesn’t mean the days of healthy eat­ing have tem­porar­ily come to an end. While this time of year is full of delec­table treats, there are always healthy eat­ing options avail­able to you and your fam­ily.  You just have to look harder for them, or cre­ate them yourself!

For a start, you can try incen­tiviz­ing your child to snack on healthy good­ies like whole grain crack­ers, fruit, or raw veg­eta­bles before the big feast.  Try plac­ing these health­ier choices in front of your kids when they are first hun­gry, as that increases the like­li­hood that they will eat them!  Make a big deal out of these yummy “appe­tiz­ers” so your child is excited to try them. Din­ing on hol­i­day favorites such as fudge, cook­ies, and other baked goods is ok, but try to mon­i­tor con­sump­tion and encour­age your kids to eat them in small portions.

The hol­i­days are the per­fect time to bring out those vin­tage fam­ily favorite recipes, and whip up some­thing extra spe­cial for a large fam­ily feast or even a late night snack by the fire. While cook­ing with kids in the kitchen can some­times be a dif­fi­cult task, there are some dishes the lit­tle ones can help with and make it fun for the whole fam­ily. Some recipes chil­dren should be able to help with in the kitchen include: appe­tiz­ers, side dishes, hol­i­day cook­ies, and baked breads. Help­ing to cre­ate their favorite hol­i­day sweets while spend­ing time together in the kitchen with mom and dad is won­der­ful way for fam­i­lies to make the hol­i­day sea­son extra special…and extra wholesome!

Fol­low the link to learn about some kid-friendly recipes you and your lit­tle ones can make together dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son: http://bit.ly/1u9zmAo.  Bon appetit!

rootvegetables

Peak Season – Root Vegetables

 rootvegetables

While the sum­mer months are abun­dant with vibrant pro­duce, it seems most of us strug­gle to keep up the healthy eat­ing habits dur­ing the fall and win­ter because we don’t have as many options dur­ing the colder months. Dig just a lit­tle deeper, how­ever, and you will find that root veg­eta­bles are the per­fect answer to this culi­nary conundrum.

 Bright orange and sweet, crispy and fresh, spicy and col­or­ful; sweet pota­toes, jica­mas, and radishes are just a small exam­ple of the diverse tex­tures, col­ors, and fla­vors that roots can add to a win­ter meal. Sweet pota­toes are the epit­ome of com­fort food when they are slowly roasted in the oven with olive oil and salt and then driz­zled with honey while they are still warm!

 If you are look­ing for a crispy addi­tion to any salad, look no fur­ther than jicama. This tuber is abun­dant dur­ing the chilly months of the year. It has a crispy and refresh­ing tex­ture that will brighten up any salad. All you need to do is peel the thin outer layer and it is ready to eat — no cook­ing required.

 Radishes also become abun­dant dur­ing this time of year. The small root veg­eta­bles are bright red with a spicy white inte­rior but also come in bright green and pink col­ors! These are great paired with tacos and a splash of lime juice, and they can be a great addi­tion to sal­ads too.

 Don’t let the win­ter blues put a damper on your healthy eat­ing!  Eat fresh and in sea­son by fol­low­ing this great resource for sea­sonal pro­duce in your area — www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

 

 

 

TAMATO

Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

TAMATO

This month are fea­tur­ing an abun­dant super food that is well known by any­one who’s ever eaten a slice of pizza. No…it’s not anchovies!  We’re talk­ing about the hum­ble yet ver­sa­tile tomato! But the tomato, as we know, is as con­tro­ver­sial as it is deli­cious. After all, it lies at the heart of an ongo­ing debate that has con­founded crit­ics for centuries:

 

Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

 

Botan­i­cally, some argue, a tomato is con­sid­ered a fruit. But, as oth­ers point out, it is com­monly pre­pared as a veg­etable. This puz­zling ques­tion was even brought to trial in 1893 when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be a veg­etable. This debate may very well go on for­ever, but the one thing we can all agree on is that the tomato is a deli­cious addi­tion to sal­ads, sauces, and snacks alike.

 

Sadly, Sep­tem­ber is the time of year when toma­toes are slowly going out of sea­son in the north­ern­most states, while still grow­ing big and juicy in the rest of the coun­try. So get them before they’re all gone! They’re chock full of antiox­i­dants (lycopene) that help build up a strong immune sys­tem. And did you know that eat­ing fresh toma­toes can help lower bad cho­les­terol mak­ing it good for your over­all heart health? But per­haps the most impor­tant nutri­tional ben­e­fit of a tomato is its excep­tion­ally high vit­a­min C con­tent!  Kind of like, what are those things called? Oh yeah, fruits!

 

Toma­toes come in all shapes, sizes, and col­ors includ­ing deep orange, pur­ple, and maroon. When select­ing them, don’t neglect the “uglys.” Instead, base your selec­tion on the sweet aroma that a ripe tomato will release and it’s impor­tant to make sure they have a rich color. Store them at room tem­per­a­ture as they are sen­si­tive to cold and pair them with, well, just about anything!

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grand-haven-blueberry-picking

Super Food of the Month — Blueberries

grand-haven-blueberry-picking

The warmth of the sum­mer­time air evokes thoughts of lazy after­noons by the lake and an abun­dance of berries! Blue­ber­ries are one of the most pop­u­lar of all berries dur­ing the sum­mer because they are at peak sea­son and they are native to the Amer­i­cas. Although they are a deli­cious addi­tion to sal­ads, pies, and sim­ply eaten fresh, blue­ber­ries are vis­i­bly rec­og­nized for their nutri­tional value.  Many years of research have demon­strated time and again the great ben­e­fits that blue­ber­ries have on mem­ory, antiox­i­dant health, and car­dio­vas­cu­lar benefits.

 

Buy­ing the best blueberries:

 

The best time of the year to find per­fect blue­ber­ries is dur­ing the sum­mer. And the per­fect way to find them is to pick them your­self at a “pick-your-own” farm where fam­i­lies can spend a fun after­noon pick­ing the biggest, fresh­est, in-season blue­ber­ries they can find. They are usu­ally sold by the pound at very afford­able prices and can be used for mak­ing jam and stor­ing through­out the year. Blue­berry pick­ing is a great edu­ca­tional activ­ity that teaches chil­dren where their food comes from. In a time when most of the coun­try has become far removed from the ori­gins of its food, fruit pick­ing is the per­fect way to instill a sense of appre­ci­a­tion for the nutri­tion that fresh pro­duce brings into our daily lives.

 

You can find the blue­berry pick­ing farm clos­est to you by fol­low­ing the link below. Now is the per­fect time to take advan­tage of this great sum­mer experience!

 

The North Amer­i­can Blue­berry Coun­cil : http://www.nabcblues.org/upick.htm

 

If you live in an area that does not have a blue­berry farm nearby or is out of fresh berries, no need to panic. Blue­ber­ries are an abun­dant fruit in the frozen sec­tion of any local super­mar­ket. Frozen blue­ber­ries are a great option because numer­ous stud­ies have found that freez­ing blue­ber­ries does not destroy their antiox­i­dant com­po­si­tion. They remain just as nutri­tious as long as they are frozen. Berries, like many fruits, are frozen fresh, mean­ing, they are frozen imme­di­ately after being picked. This max­i­mizes their nutri­tional con­tent. Frozen blue­ber­ries are the per­fect snack for any hot sum­mer day!