Don't miss Taste of Buffalo

Don't miss the Healthy Options at this year's Taste of Buffalo

Independent Health Foundation program remains integral part of popular food festival

BUFFALO, N.Y., (July 8, 2011) – Garlic shrimp skewers. Chicken sausage and spinach sandwich. Red raspberry swirl ice cream.

Sound delicious? They are - and healthy, too!

You can give these dishes and nearly 60 other Independent Health Foundation Healthy Options menu items a try at the 28th Annual Taste of Buffalo on July 9th and 10th in downtown Buffalo. This year’s Taste features 57 restaurants, half a dozen wineries, a culinary stage, music and special offerings from national and local sponsors.

“Now, five years into this partnership with the Taste of Buffalo, the Healthy Options program continues to offer delicious and creative foods to try, which is the true spirit of this festival,” said Carrie Meyer, executive director, Independent Health Foundation.

This popular Buffalo event, presented by Tops Markets, remains the only food festival in the United States to require all participating restaurants to offer a healthy menu option item through the Healthy Options program. Each restaurant will offer signature healthy dishes, which are lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium. Some of this year’s options include: stuffed grape leaves, Warsaw salad, cajun broiled crawfish, Baja shrimp salsa and vegetable puntanesca.

“We’re seeing what a positive impact this initiative is having with the restaurants and the community embracing healthy lifestyles and we’re thrilled that this program continues to expand throughout our area,” Meyer said. “Making healthy eating choices is one way we can improve our health and the Taste is a great place to get a start by trying new foods. We encourage everyone to join us at this year’s Taste of Buffalo and hope you try a few of these great Healthy Options.”

“Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options has allowed the Taste of Buffalo to add even further diversity to the 200 plus menu items offered at the event,” said Mark Zawodzinski, 2011 Taste of Buffalo chairman. “We are proud to have raised the bar for food festivals across country by requiring all participating restaurants to offer a healthy menu item.”

"Healthy Options continues to make the Taste of Buffalo one of the best food festivals in the country," said Mayor Byron W. Brown, City of Buffalo. "I applaud the efforts by the Independent Health Foundation to promote healthy eating at such a successful, fun and family-friendly event in downtown Buffalo.”

The Foundation also will recognize the best-tasting Healthy Options item with cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 as decided by the Taste of Buffalo judges. Last year’s winners were: 1st place: Giacobbi's Pasta and Pizza - turkey meatball in marinara; 2nd Place: Orazio's Restaurant - beans and greens soup; and 3rd Place: Saigon Cafe - summer roll.

New this year, Independent Health is sponsoring the Fresh and Healthy Cooking demonstration from 4 to 5 p.m., Sunday, July 10, at the Culinary Stage, located in the New Era Cap front parking lot on Delaware Avenue. Chef Kate Elliott from Merge Restaurant is making Healthy Whole Wheat Flatbread Pizza.

The Taste of Buffalo runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 9 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 10 on Delaware Avenue and Niagara Street in downtown Buffalo.

The Healthy Options program is supported by Roche Diagnostics. Healthy Options, founded in 2004 by the Independent Health Foundation, works with local restaurants to prepare heart-healthy menu options for their customers to make healthier choices while dining out. Consumers can visit healthyoptionsbuffalo.com to view a list of participating restaurants and their healthy menu items. The Healthy Options program is offered in more than 50 Buffalo area restaurants and all items are lower in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Established in 1992, the Independent Health Foundation works to improve the health and well being of Western New York residents through awareness, prevention and education programs focused on community health priorities. For more information on the Foundation’s activities, visit www.independenthealth.com/foundation.