Food Trends

Eating at Home

We Registered Dietitian Nutritionists have long preached from our pulpit: eat at home! It is healthier with regard to the unholy gang of calories, fat, sugar and salt (that draw us to restaurant food).

Checking out trends and stats from the US restaurant industry, $745 billion was spent in 2015 on food and drink sales and that’s growing. Meals at quick serve, casual and full service restaurants were counted; we often hear the figure one meal/day is eaten away from home. That number hasn’t changed for years which is puzzling.

I think our vocabulary must not have kept up with the food times. If we bought a bag of frozen Friday’s Easy Chicken Chow Mein and prepared it at home, are we calling it a home cooked meal? If Domino’s delivered our Memphis BBQ Chicken pizza and we ate it at home, wouldn’t we say we ate at home? My sense is that we are not capturing what really is going on with our food habits

After we discussed meal kits last Minute several friends wanted to ask about them; EVERYONE asked how healthy they were. In my limited assessment of what’s available (HelloFresh – largest in revenue, Blue Apron – more complicated cooking, Plated – more choice and dessert! and Purple Carrot – plant based) my advice is about the same as when eating “out”. Eat less.

The Blue Apron meals “we” got came with the nutrient breakdowns. Calories ranged from about 600 to 1100/meal. Calories tend not to climb in isolation…the meals highest in calories were highest in fat, sugar and salt too. Go figure.

At any rate, let’s modify our sermon. When eating a commercial meal, regardless of where you are consuming it, consider a half portion or a two-thirds portion to be well.


PS Let me know if you’ve tried any of these kits and what you thought. Meal kits from the grocery?



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Shishito Peppers

Ever wonder how food trends get started? You see a new food on a menu, you spy the ingredient at the grocery, then Allrecipes has a million (okay many) recipes for the same food on line.

Sometimes it’s a grower, sometimes a distributor but often a celebrity chef who brings an item to the table. A news article, a great picture, a radio interview and you’re eating spelt. Or whatever.

Shishito peppers are a new trend for me. We love peppers in general; mild tasting cubanelles were a staple of my youth. And we grow peppers in the summer garden with limited success. So, when I saw these Japanese shishito peppers on a trendy appetizer menu, I thought I would try them

Like most peppers these are low in calories, low in fat, rich in vitamins C and K. They can be eaten raw or cooked. They are fairly mild though recipes comment that about 1 in 20 peppers have a bit of heat.

We buy them at the grocery in quart size bags and do find a mix of very mild to just a trace of heat to them.

Shishitos are small, perhaps the size of your pointer finger. They contain seeds that are edible and, although I suspect you could eat the stems, we didn’t.

We blistered them in a hot non-stick pan with just a skim of oil. Typically I put peppers on an outdoor grill to blacken them but these are too small for that.

We added a light sprinkle of salt, pepper and white balsamic vinegar and ate them like a finger food.

I can’t now recall how that first restaurant served them – only that they were delish.

During this in-between produce season, try a variation on one of your favorite veggies (purple cauliflower anyone?) to be well,


PS Let me know of any new veggies you’ve tried recently.



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