Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eating Healthy: It's as Easy as ABC Foods

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 18, 2009) Staff and patients p...Image via WikipediaMarch 20, 2011

EAST KINGSTON — Do you know what it takes to prepare healthy meals? Do you have enough time to do so? ABC Foods caters to those who answered "no" to either question.

ABC Foods (A Better Choice) is the brainchild of Peggy Evans, a culinary and nutrition educator who believes cooking light should be easy and fun, and the food flavorful.

"Many people are more concerned about healthy eating today," Evans said. "Obesity is on the rise, especially among children, so that's a huge concern. Parents want to eat better so they can set a good example for their children. They want to give them a healthy path to follow all their lives, but many people don't know where to start."

Evans said counting calories, weighing and measuring seems complicated and time-consuming. People also worry, she added, that so-called "healthy foods" will have as much flavor as cardboard.

"They see a lifetime of eating celery ahead and quit before they really start," Evans said. "I'm here to show them that it's easy to cook healthy and it tastes great."

ABC Foods offers public and private cooking classes and a chef-at-home service for which Evans will prepare a month's supply of healthy recipes for families to freeze and enjoy as needed.

"I've taught cooking classes through local schools and recreation departments and at several of the area kitchen stores," she said. "I'm happy to set up a series in any community. But, I'll also come to your home and teach you how to cook nutritious meals, or, if you like, you can get some friends together and we'll do an evening, or a series of classes that way."

For the chef-at-home service, Evans first sits down with clients to talk about food preferences, any allergies or diet restrictions and other key criteria. She then reviews what a client has on hand so she can bring any needed supplies or equipment. Lastly, she schedules a day to cook that is convenient for the client.

"Some clients prefer to choose exact menus and dishes for me to prepare, others want me to surprise them — whatever works for you, I'm happy to do," she said.

After preparing the meals, Evans labels and packages everything and cleans up the kitchen. The client has a freezer full of delicious, nutritious meals, and often a nice stew simmering in the slow cooker.

Evans said the chef-at-home service is a boon to busy mothers, new parents with little ones, busy professionals with little time to cook, aging parents, people recuperating from illness or surgery, anyone with special needs or mobility issues. She also said it can be just the thing for families who feel their food habits are in a rut and are looking for a healthy change — along with a little more free time in their schedule.

"Sometimes removing just one chore from the schedule helps families connect," she said. "We can all use a break now and then, and this service provides that, along with the health benefits."

Evans retired from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 2008, but returned to school to pursue a career in nutrition. She has always been passionate about food and for years has cooked for large groups of family and friends, and given of her time cooking at the Salvation Army soup kitchen. She also teaches cooking classes at her local food pantry.

"I've learned you can still make healthy, creative dinners for 60 to 80 people, even with limited ingredients," she said.

ABC Foods' Web site, www.abcfoods.net, offers free nutritious recipes, shopping lists for each recipe and a complete nutritional breakdown for each recipe. Evans said all of her ingredients can be found at the neighborhood grocery store.

Evans is offering food demonstrations at upcoming home and garden shows and is writing a column on healthy eating with recipes for the just-launched food and wine magazine, Northeast FLAVOR, www.northeastflavor.com.


Taken from SeaCoastOnline.com; source article is below:
Eating Healthy: It's as Easy as ABC Foods

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