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Guest Post: How to Eat Healthy While on the Job

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The good news? You’ve landed a dream job that leaves you fulfilled. The not-so-good news? That dream job is also leaving you filled – with the wrong kinds of food. When you’re working 9 to 5, it can be hard to eat healthy. Doughnuts in the break room? A co-worker’s birthday – complete with cake and ice cream? Tempting candy at the receptionist’s desk? These diet minefields can be hard to overcome, but these tips can help you navigate potential pitfalls with ease.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

When you’re in a hurry to get out the door, it can be easy to blow off breakfast. However, eating breakfast helps to keep your metabolism on an even keel and ups your energy. A good, quick option is Greek or plain yogurt, to which you can add your own ingredients. Stir in fresh berries or sliced fruit, and add granola or almonds for crunch. You can also have a quick bowl of cereal, just be sure to pick one that’s high in fiber and made with whole grains, says WebMD.

Have an important breakfast meeting? Order a vegetable-packed omelet with red peppers and tomatoes, or try some scrambled eggs for a good hit of protein. Another good option is half of a whole-wheat bagel, but skip the cream cheese and opt for smoked salmon instead for heart-healthy omega 3s.

Morning and Afternoon Snacks

You certainly don’t want a foggy brain during your web design company meeting, but just make sure to think outside the vending machine. Refuel with a yogurt smoothie, low-fat cheese stick or whole-wheat crackers. Stock up on grab-and-go options like power bars without added sugar, which will provide you with a needed boost of energy.

Raw vegetables and fruits also make a great snack. Smear natural peanut butter on celery sticks or apple slices, or dip carrots into hummus. Try some fresh tomato salsa with blue corn tortilla chips.

Lunch

Try making your own salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes and other vegetables of choice. Be sure to include a protein source, like chicken breast or chopped hardboiled eggs, and top it off with low-fat cheese such as grated parmesan if you like. Other great salad toppings include avocado and fresh herbs, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Stick with homemade dressings over calorie-laden bottled dressings. Try olive oil with balsamic vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Make a sandwich with whole-wheat bread or wraps, and use mustard instead of fatty mayonnaise. Fill with lean meats such as turkey or ham, skip the cheese and pile on the vegetables. For soups, avoid cream-based and go for vegetable or broth-based varieties. Think Manhattan clam chowder instead of New England clam chowder.

Drinks of Choice

Skip the soda. Regular soda is loaded with empty calories, and diet sodas are made with artificial sweeteners that trick your body into producing unneeded insulin. A better bet is to stick with plain or sparking water. You can always jazz up the taste with fresh lemon or lime juice. For something different, try some coconut water, which is lower in calories than soda but delivers that sweet taste.

Eating healthy throughout the day can help decrease your waistline and boost your energy levels, helping you power through your workday with ease.

About the Author:

Courtney Gordner is a passionate blogger who loves to share insight about living a healthy life. Read more from her on her blog, www.talkviral.com.

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A Food Truck Nation

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Who doesn’t love hot and delicious food that stops right outside, on a daily basis, if front of the office during lunch time? With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that food truck mania has been sweeping the nation. But now, it looks like these driving delectable will be swarming more than just the streets.

The next time you’re at the airport, why not forgo those soggy sandwiches and try some local food truck cuisine? Or at least, that’s the pitch airports are using as they’ve begun bringing in food trucks to their cell phone parking lots. LAX even has plans to build a structure that resembles a food truck in one of their terminals, stating that it will have a rotating menu with offerings from Los Angeles’ most popular food trucks.

Currently Tampa International has the largest collection of trucks – their program dates back to November, and was originally just a way of serving the massive amount of people waiting in the cell phone parking lot to pick up friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday rush. Their first month in business was so successful that they’ve extended the program through August, with a different food truck every day. There offerings range from the Cheesesteak truck to Graffeaties, which serves global street food, and there are plenty in rotation so you never know what you’ll find.

Since airports are the first look you get of a destination city, it makes sense that they’d offer more local food options to serve customers and raise awareness and revenue for local businesses. And for now, it looks like the programs have been a rousing success, with more popping up every day.

And that’s not the only market food trucks are crashing – Royal Caribbean Cruises is adding a “food truck” restaurant on their newest ship, Quantum of the Seas. The stationary “truck” will serve hot dogs and sausage, and Royal Caribbean claims the new venue is a way to share the “food truck” experience with guests who live in smaller communities, sans food trucks.

Some have argued that for those who live in big cities, seeing a food truck on a cruise ship “won’t seem like much of a vacation,” but only one thing’s for sure. Food trucks are fast becoming a U.S. staple – stationary restaurants had better watch out.

About the Author:

Caitlin is a senior at The George Washington University, pursuing a degree in English with a minor in creative writing. She loves to travel, and when she can’t leave home to find adventure she’s more than willing to look for it in a good book. To read more from her visit her blog at http://toromeandbackagain.blogspot.com/.

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(Resources 1, 2)

Nourishing Mondays: Red Lentil & Quinoa Cakes With Basil Cream

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Here is another great Nourishing Mondays recipe to start your week off.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt plus a pinch of salt
1 cup (175g) uncooked quinoa, preferably sprouted
1 cup (200g) dried red lentils, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups (300g) chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, whisked, or 1 large egg, and 2 large egg whites

For the basil cream:

1⁄2 cup (125ml) 2% fat Greek yogurt
1⁄2 cup (30g) packed fresh basil leaves
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons crème fraîche

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1⁄2 cups (350ml) of 
water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse. (Sprouted quinoa does not need to be rinsed before cooking.) Add the quinoa to the boiling water, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir, cover again, and let steam for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

2. In a separate saucepan, combine the lentils, turmeric, ginger, cumin, pepper, remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups (750ml) of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked down to baby food consistency and all the water has been absorbed. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Wipe the pan clean and set aside.

4. Make the basil cream: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.

5. When the quinoa and lentils are cool, combine them in a large bowl and add the sautéed onion, flour, and eggs.

6. Heat the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in the reserved pan. Add the lentil mixture to the pan in 1⁄4-cup (60ml) portions in two batches, flattening the patties slightly. Cook 5 minutes per side, until golden brown.

7. Serve 2 cakes per person topped with a tablespoon of the basil cream.

Serves 8

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Sustainable Saturdays: instagram Love

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Food photography is around for all those times you can’t leave your desk, but are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. It’s beautiful, so beautiful that you can almost taste it just look at it. But not all food photography is created equal, so I’ve compiled a list of the best Food instagram accounts to follow. Warning: prolonged exposure to food photography might induce the munchies.

  1. @loveandlemons. This graphic designer is from Texas, so it makes sense that she knows plenty about how to make food look (and taste) delicious. Follow her instagram to get yourself hungry, and then head over to her blog to find out how to make your own kitchen look that good.
  2. @joythebaker. Having followed her blog for years, I can personally vouch for the delicious recipes Joy the Baker is constantly whipping up. The desserts on her blog are always a hit at parties, and the photos will have your sweet tooth slobbering in seconds. The most inspiring part? She’s home-taught. That should give you amateur foodies some hope.
  3. @idafrosk. Norway’s Ida Skivenes creates food art that will make you smile on the worst of days. Not only does it look awesome, it’s also edible, which makes everything better. You might not have the time to play with your food, but now you can watch Ida do it for you.
  4. @ashrod. Not Without Salt food blogger, Ashley Rodriguez, posts dazzling photos of her latest recipes. There’s a good mix of savory and sweet, so no matter what you’re in the mood for you’re sure to find something delicious to daydream about during your next office meeting.
  5. @dominiqueansel. Yeah, he invented the cronut. But this chef isn’t a one-hit-wonder, and his instagram is here to prove it. These dishes are practically works of art.

About the Author:

Caitlin is a senior at The George Washington University, pursuing a degree in English with a minor in creative writing. She loves to travel, and when she can’t leave home to find adventure she’s more than willing to look for it in a good book. To read more from her visit her blog at http://toromeandbackagain.blogspot.com/.

(Photo Source)

(Resources 1, 2, 3)

April 11: Favorite Sites Friday

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Here’s another interesting mix of food-related websites and blogs for your reading entertainment. #FavoriteSitesFriday

  1. Food Processing: The top new source for the food and beverage industry, FoodProcessing.com is the go-to information source for the food and beverage industry. They offer processing best practices as well as new products, equipment and ingredients for food and beverage processors.
  2. Food Day: Building all year long and culminating on October 24, Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. This annual event involves some of the country’s most prominent food activists, and aims to help people Eat Real. That means cutting back on sugar drinks, overly salted packaged foods, and fatty, factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and sustainably raised protein. Food Day envisions shorter lines at fast-food drive-throughs—and bigger crowds at farmers markets.
  3. Compassion Over Killing (COK): Created in 1995, COK is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. COK focuses on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for all of us, both human and nonhuman.
  4. Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI): FPI, the trade association for the foodservice packaging industry in North America, was established in 1933. FPI’s members include raw material and machinery suppliers, packaging converters, foodservice distributors and operators/retailers.
  5. Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform: In 2002 Nestlé, Unilever and Danone created the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, a non-profit organization to facilitate sharing, at precompetitive level, of knowledge and initiatives to support the development and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices involving the different stakeholders of the food chain.

Be sure to share your food-related site with us, we’d love to feature it in our next Favorite Sites Friday post. Leave us your URL in the comments area or shoot us a tweet @foodem.

Nurture Your Network

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Starting a successful business can be one of the most rewarding, yet hardest tasks that a person can face. Ups and downs are inevitable, even if you think you’re in the clear. In owning any business, you want to continuously and consistently build your network. This will lead to a broader customer base, new customers, and possible partnership opportunities.

Joining professional associations, attending networking/meet up events, becoming a member of the chambers of commerce in your area, and volunteering at local and community events are all avenues to build and nurture your business network. Many of these techniques are common and are tried-and true, but there are other ways to cultivate a network. Check out the list below via Inc.com:

  1. Take Charge of Relationships – Be a creator of relationships, an ‘introducer’ if you will. Be the catalyst between the two people and make an introduction, whether in-person or via email. For instance, say one of your customers need graphic design services, which your company does not offer. Go to the graphic designer in your network and make an introduction. Connecting people is a vital part of growing a network.
  2. Power is Key – Think ‘influence’. Build relationships with those who influence decision-makers, such as mid-level staff members, administrative assistants and schedulers who are in control of the decision-makers’ time and with whom they spend it.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Befriend – Refer back to #1, be an ‘introducer’, but this time introduce yourself. Spark a conversation with a stranger at the next event or conference you attend, and introduce them to a few people that you may know. In turn, you’ve made a new friend, a potential customer, or you’ve opened the door for other business opportunities.
  4. Rolodex – Remembering and networking go hand-in-hand. What and who you remember hold the same weight. When meeting someone, make a point to remember essential information such as their name, contact information, and the industry they work in. For “brownie points”, take the extra initiative to collect information like their favorite sports team, where they grew up, or the college they attended; anything that highlights their individuality. Remembering tidbits about a decision-maker could open the doors to many different possibilities.
  5. Be Where the Action Happens – Spend time where you can connect with people; it may be at the “water cooler”, workshops, or industry-related happy hours. The main things are to do the research, find places and events, and be in attendance.

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Guest Post: What You Need to Know About Hiring a Food Caterer For Your Wedding

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One of the major things you need to pay attention to in your wedding is your food. It is one of the things that you and your guests are meant to enjoy. It is important to hire a reliable caterer to ensure that your reception is well cared for. With the many options available for wedding catering services, you have to know the things you need for your reception and how that ties along with your search for a caterer.

1. Budget. You should have a realistic budget when it comes to scouting a food caterer. Set a budget on how much you are willing to spend per head and see if the caterer can come up with a good and sumptuous buffet for you. An experienced caterer will be able to pull off delicious viands regardless of the budget you provide.

2. Headcount. You should create a guest list to help you accurately manage your budget. The will also help you in estimating the number of invitations you will be printing. Limit your guests to the number you pegged in proportion to your budget. Remember that you might need to pay more if you go beyond your headcount because your caterer will only prepare the food based on the original number you gave.

3. Contract. You need to see what the contract contains and make sure that the caterer complies fully. A contract is essential because it stipulates what they are covering. Review the contract thoroughly and see if you need to add more to it. Until the contract is signed by both parties, you can still make revisions.

4. Terms. As you negotiate with your caterer you need to know the expected costs and the payment schedule that they require. Terms are meant to be flexible so if you need longer terms or lower rates, don’t hesitate to ask. There are many caterers you can choose from so don’t be too worried if the first person you talked to could not accommodate your terms. Keep scouting!

5. Leftovers. Leftover terms need to be clarified with your caterer. Usually they belong to the caterer, not the cook. However, you can ask them if you they can leave the leftovers with you. Besides, you paid for them. If you are getting the leftovers, make sure that you also ask the caterer to bring containers for you.

6. Expertise. You need to be cautious about hiring a non-professional or new caterer. Even if your friend is a good cook, she also needs experience. Newbie caterers may not be able to deliver the quality and speed you need most especially if big changes come as your big day draws near. If you plan to do this yourself or get involved partially, you need to be prepared about the pressures that go along in preparing the food for your wedding.

After you have considered all the above factors, choose the caterer who not only will provide you with the best food but also the best professional service. Remember that you only deserve the best on your wedding day!

About the Author:

Julieane Hernandez is a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate turned Wedding designer. She’s an advanced tri-athlete during weekends. She’s been in the Wedding industry for about 5 years now and She’s learned so much from all the experiences she’s been through. Follow her on twitter and google+.

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Food Fools – Common Food Myths Debunked

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“Betcha didn’t know that!” is the theme of the day. And I’ve got some food myths for you that will blow your mind.

  1. Diet Soda Will Lead to Weight Gain. This one seems to come up all the time, even though it makes no sense whatsoever. Zero calories = zero calories. End of story. You cannot gain weight without consuming calories, so this is just pure pulp fiction. Is it true that diet soda, like any artificial drink, is less healthy than water? Duh. But does it lead to weight gain? NO.
  2. Salt = Sodium. You probably felt proud of yourself for ignoring the salt in that new recipe, but salt isn’t always the enemy. In fact, adding salt to water before you boil something (especially veggies) can make them MORE nutritious. Cooking Light had the author of On Food & Cooking weigh in, saying, “Salt in the cooking water reduces the leaching of nutrients from vegetables into the water.” It also speeds up the cooking process. Just remember that a teaspoon of salt per cup of water is all you need.
  3. All Fiber is Good Fiber. You know how not all fats are bad for you? And not all sugars are either? Well, it would reason that the same holds true for fiber. Different fibers serve different functions – wheat bran helps clear your colon, oat lowers cholesterol, etc. But the “fake” fiber being added to foods these days (like in “fiber-supplemented” foods) aren’t as beneficial as those naturally occurring in fruits, grains, and vegetables.
  4. Microwaved Food is Bad for You. Microwaving your food has nothing to do with how nutritious it is. The longer and hotter you cook something, the more heat-and-water-sensitive nutrients the food will lose. Because microwaves traditionally cook food quickly they can actually help minimize that nutrient loss.
  5. Eating Mini-Meals All Day Keeps You Feeling Full. The calorie difference between eating mini-meals all day or large ones three times a day is so small that this is a rubbish theory. Snacking between meals might help keep you from eating too many calories at dinner, but then again, eating more often throughout the day provides you with more opportunities to splurge and go overboard on your calorie intake. It’s important to stick with an eating pattern that works best for you and your body. After all, everyone is different and our bodies are too!

About the Author:

Caitlin is a senior at The George Washington University, pursuing a degree in English with a minor in creative writing. She loves to travel, and when she can’t leave home to find adventure she’s more than willing to look for it in a good book. To read more from her visit her blog at http://toromeandbackagain.blogspot.com/.

(Photo Source)

(Resources 1, 2, 3)

Nourishing Mondays: Spring Lettuces With Avocado Dressing and Pistachios

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This Nourishing Mondays recipe for Spring Lettuces With Avocado Dressing and Pistachios is an ode to the gorgeous spring weekend we just had. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for all of the fruits and veggies the spring and summer has to offer. Farmer’s markets, here I come! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/4 avocado, pitted
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper
6 cups mixed spring lettuces (such as red leaf, watercress, and baby bok choy)
1/3 cup shelled roasted pistachios

Directions:

In a food processor, process the avocado, buttermilk, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until smooth.

Drizzle the lettuces with the dressing and sprinkle with the pistachios.

Serves 4

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Sustainable Saturdays: An Honestly Awesome Company

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Running a household can be a hectic task; downright herculean in fact. Oftentimes, when it comes to keeping your home clean and organized, practicing sustainability feels too hard. Finding green products that aren’t too expensive or too scarce is almost impossible. Especially during weeks when going to the store feels like too much to add into your already busy schedule. Sometimes something has to give.

Enter The Honest Company, a company devoted to bringing all the essentials you need to keep your life in order, right to your door, as frequently as you need. Founded by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan, The Honest Company is devoted to providing homes and families with “eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient, and affordable” products that make the day-to-day run a heck of a lot smoother.

To quote them, “We tried to think of all the qualities we would want in a dream brand – savvy style, sustainability, and extraordinary service & convenience all wrapped in a passion for social goodness, tied with a bow of integrity and sprinkled with a little cheeky fun.”

Sounds like a dream come true, right?

And the best part is, they didn’t just succeed – they ROCKED the socks right off that goal. They source natural, organic, and renewable products, use recyclable packaging, and strive to soon become 100% plant based “inside and out.” It’s a tall order, but they certainly come through.

There are two ways to order: you can choose to just order individual products or you can purchase one of the “bundles” offered (at a very steep discount). The bundles are ingenious – There are 3 options: a “Health & Wellness” bundle which allows you to mix and match 2 -5 products a month; a “Diapers & Wipes” bundle which lets you mix and match diapers and wipes, guaranteeing you a month’s supply of both; and an “Essentials” bundle which allows you to mix and match 5-8 products a month from a range of household, cleaning, and personal care products.

If only Hercules had had something like this to help him out – the Aegean stables could’ve used it.

About the Author:

Caitlin is a senior at The George Washington University, pursuing a degree in English with a minor in creative writing. She loves to travel, and when she can’t leave home to find adventure she’s more than willing to look for it in a good book. To read more from her visit her blog at http://toromeandbackagain.blogspot.com/.

(Photo Source)