Support local restaurants that offer healthy options

Make the choice to patronize restaurants that offer healthier options to support your local food economy.

Looking for healthier food options this year? Have you checked out local restaurants to see what might be on their menu? Many locally owned establishments are offering healthier menu entrees. Many items are prepared with spices and herbs to help reduce the fat and calories while maintaining great taste. The method of cooking can also make a meal healthier. Methods such as broiling, steaming, baking, braising, grilling, poaching or roasting can be used to create a tasty entrée that is healthier than other cooking methods.

Another option that you may find at a local restaurant is the use of locally grown products in their food. As the local food economy continues to grow, many farm market vendors and producers are selling to restaurants so the restaurants can feature local foods. Items such as meats, breads, cheeses, other dairy products, eggs, salad greens and other seasonal produce are being used for entrées. You can experience seasonal produce at its peak when a restaurant features the item in their daily special. Local producers can offer more variety to the restaurant, for instance heirloom varieties of produce adds more flavors and often color to the menu.

When you support local growers, you are contributing to the regional food economy. Producers and food businesses are more likely to be successful if there is a market for their products locally instead of importing from other areas. There is also a greater connection to our food when we know where, who and how it was grown.

Take some time to check out your locally owned restaurants to see if they are offering local food products on their menus. If they are, thank them and patronize their establishment to support the local food economy.

If you want to learn more about good food in Michigan and why our local food system is important, check out the Michigan Good Food website, which has a wealth of information developed by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University

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