Creative options at the Taste of Buffalo

July 8, 2011 Updated Jul 8, 2011 at 7:19 AM EDT

By Elizabeth Carey, Business First

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Creative options at the Taste of Buffalo

July 8, 2011 Updated Jul 8, 2011 at 7:19 AM EDT


Instead of greasy chicken wings, cheesy pizza and high calorie desserts, why not opt for balsamic chicken salad, Baja shrimp salsa or bruschetta pizza at this year's Taste of Buffalo presented by TOPS? The Independent Health Independent Health Latest from The Business Journals Ind. Health growing at Amherst site 'Taste of Buffalo' on menu for 28th yearYMCA preps for new Northtowns site Follow this company Foundation is hoping that festivalgoers will embrace their "Healthy Options" just as restaurants have.

Carrie Meyer, with Independent Health, says the idea to incorporate more healthy food items at the Taste got started a few years ago and many restaurants agreed to take part, but now it is a requirement. "We require every restaurant at the Taste of Buffalo to have a healthy option, and what that means is, we don't have very strict guidelines, but we ask that they use alternative ingredients in their recipes, apple sauce vs. oil, Splenda vs. the regular sugar," Meyer explained. "And adding more fruits and vegetables to your dish, any dish, will make it a healthier version."

Independent Health reminds the public that they can take simple steps to eat healthier at home as well. "For example, if you have a pasta salad, if you add more broccoli and cauliflower, it makes it a healthier option," Meyer said. "Instead of having three cups of pasta, you might have one cup of pasta and two cups of vegetables." While individuals choose healthy options for their own wellness, restaurants are going that route in hopes of winning a cash prize.

Meyer, who was a guest on Eyewitness News this Morning on WKBW-TV WKBW-TV Latest from The Business Journals WKBW-TV parent files for bankruptcyParent of WKBW-TV faces Nasdaq delistingEmpire on the brink Follow this company on Thursday, says a whopping $1,000 first place cash prize encourages restaurants to get creative with their recipes. Second and third place prizes are $500 and $250. Meyer says these are the only cash prizes awarded at the Taste of Buffalo. "Now it's a requirement for all the restaurants and they're all embracing it because they want to win that $1,000 cash prize," she said.

Will festivalgoers have an appetite for this year's "Healthy Options?" Stay Tuned. With no cash incentive for the public, it may be hard to pass up tastier treats, but Meyer says most people will be pleased with the healthy alternatives, even when it comes to Buffalo's favorite, chicken wings. "We have smoked wings and baked wings as well," she said.

The Taste of Buffalo will be held along Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square on Saturday, July 9 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Over 50 restaurants and seven wineries are scheduled to take part.

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