Fresh & Easy Visit: A Day of Food and Fun

The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released in January 2011, and the MyPlate, which replaced the MyPyramid of 2005, debuted early June. Add to that the National Sodium Reduction Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and one could say we’ve been involved in a bit of a food frenzy and a healthy eating focus.

(Above: Dr. Roger A. Clemens, Melissa Musiker, MPP, RD, LD, Michelle Dudash, RD.) Yesterday I had an exclusive opportunity to visit the Fresh & Easy Campus Academy in California and share my knowledge with their team, along with Dr. Roger Clemens and Melissa Musiker, on how to make recipes more nutrient-rich without sacrificing taste. For those of you outside of California, Arizona, and Nevada, you may not have heard of this lovely chain of grocery markets, which offers unique private label foods, amidst favorite household brands.

But first, I needed some coffee flowing. The little coffee valet only offered Splenda, no real sugar. Yikes. The contents of just one yellow packet made my coffee so super sweet. I winced with one eye shut. It would have to do for now. I knew that Fresh & Easy would be serving breakfast, but I popped a few bites of the delightful espresso-flavor frosted cupcake from the evening prior before scooting out the door to get to my demo event.

Once I settled in at the Academy, my eyes feasted on a continental breakfast that would make any dietitian proud.

I opted for the full fat Fresh & Easy Blueberry Greek Style Yogurt and stirred in crunchy granola.

Then I spotted a reach-in case of freshly cut boxed fruit. This photo depicts the afternoon assortment, though I actually ate their watermelon and cantaloupe blend which was bursting with juicy flavor. I was preoccupied with setting up my cooking demo and forgot to photograph the original. Did you know they cut all of their fruit by hand? Considering they produce a total of half a million units of freshly packaged food per week, I consider that pretty remarkable.

Lunchtime arrived right after my cooking demo. I gobbled up three of my fresh meatballs I sautéed in olive oil. A couple of colleagues joined me. Yes, they tasted better than the baked samples. It’s a healthy fat!

I also selected a mozzarella, tomato, and arugula sandwich along with a romaine and radicchio salad. I had to try the watermelon juice, which is 100% watermelon juice with nothing added. That’s it. It was so refreshingly good that I could think of a few other ways to use it involving limes and tequila. This drink is derived from the fresh fruit they juice and bottle just one day after harvesting.

I hit the refreshment center one more time in the afternoon. A “chewy sweet & salty” granola bar it would be.

I also brewed a cup of hot black tea with a smidgen of sugar.

Since I had a little time before my plane departed, I unwound by sipping three-fourths of a glass of chardonnay.

Only quick-service restaurants remained open at the small Ontario International airport. The menu options were scarce. Pizza or a sandwich? I settled on a melty Schlotzsky’s Deli Turkey Bacon Club Sandwich. It was huge, and three-fourths of it satisfied me. On the plane I sipped hot water with a lemon, which offered a cleansing effect after the monster sandwich.

Then it was home sweet home. I’m hoping that you will be enjoying gorgeous summer weather and finger-licking-good barbecue over the weekend, so let’s enjoy our friends and families and reconvene on Tuesday, July 5. Have a safe and pleasant July 4th weekend, everybody. God bless America, and thank you to those who serve our country.

Estimated calories: 550 (breakfast), 565 (lunch), 438 (dinner), 307 (snacks), 100 (wine)

Disclosure: Yes, I was compensated to speak at Fresh & Easy, but no, they did not compensate me to include them in this post. I’m simply sharing my day with you.

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