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Wegmans Food Markets, based in Rochester, N.Y., is displaying its healthy-eating bona fides with a recently introduced online Mix-and-Match Meal Guide on its website and a planned dinner event later this month that explores the connection between food and medicine
The guide provides more than 50 breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners, complete with a picture of how each meal idea looks on the plate, a posting of the calorie count, and sensible portion sizes. As well as striving to appeal to consumers' palates, the resource offers the healthy-eating principles of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A visitor who has signed in to view the guide can click the "add all items to list" button for a meal, and its ingredients will instantly appear on her shopping list.
"These meal ideas are fun, tasty, smart, and easy," affirmed Wegmans Nutritionist Kirby Branciforte, a member of the team that created the guide. "They have a balance of fruits and veggies, protein and whole grains, and they’re affordable. On average, these meals cost less than $5 per serving. Affordability is one of the many benefits of plant-based foods, not to mention helping folks live healthier, better lives. Most of these ideas are also quick to the table, making it even easier to improve a family's pattern of eating."
The guide also aims to give shoppers flexibility. "We know most customers aren't looking for a total meal makeover at home, but many would welcome practical help with meal planning and organizing shopping lists – a chore that many busy families find challenging," added Branciforte, who suggested that users start using the guide by sampling one category at a time and customizing to include their own preferences. "Make it your own by swapping in foods you prefer or have on hand," she advised. "Keep the concept the same and you still have a quick, well-balanced solution."
Above all, Branciforte explained, "These guidelines are meant to help folks round out and fine tune their pattern of eating."
The planned event, part of The Chef & the Doctor Dinner dinner series launched this year, will take place on July 23 at Wegmans Organic Orchard and feature a talk on "The Power of Food as Medicine," led by Dr. Mark Hyman, a best-selling author, the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center.
For $150 each, guests get to attend a hors d'oeuvre and sparkling-wine reception, followed by a four-course dinner created by New York restaurateur David Bouley and the staff of the company-owned Next Door by Wegmans eatery, and receive a copy of Dr. Hyman's book, "The 10-day Detox Diet." A trio will also perform live jazz during the summer casual-dress event. Tickets are available at all Wegman stores.
Family-owned Wegmans operates 86 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.