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Spring has Sprung. Eat Responsibly, My Friend


From East Orlando Chamber of Commerce

Spring is around the corner with its vibrant seasonal colors. Inquiring minds want to know if spring has sprung in your diet? March is National Nutrition Month and the perfect time for the East Orlando Chamber's Feast in the East catering showcase featuring the delicious, healthy options available through local restaurant members. So how can we use this year's Nutrition Month theme "Go Further with Food" to enjoy the savory delights available while making choices that not only conserve money and save time, but also reduce food waste and satisfy our taste buds?

Not to be a "Debbie Downer," but while we know good nutrition combined with physical activity is key in maintaining a healthy weight and reducing risk for chronic illness, more than half of Americans are chronically overweight and obese according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Poor diets are associated with major health risk factors. Smart food choices taking small steps each week to improve nutrition, makes a significant difference in health. If we know all of this, what is the barrier?

Some might say, "Eating healthy is expensive." The Harvard School of Public Health did a study crunching the numbers, finding that the healthiest diets cost just $1.50 more than unhealthy diets. Now, this might not be a problem for some, those with lower incomes may not be able to afford the added cost. However, the small difference may help people realize that eating healthy is within reach. Over the course of a year though, the cost equates to nearly $550 annually per person putting a real burden on some families. Dariush Mazaffarian, associate professor at HSPH and Harvard Medical suggests policies are needed to offset these costs, reducing death and disability resulting from poor habits.

On the brighter side, Rachel Grumman Bender examined ways in which you could eat healthy without breaking the bank in her article for LearnVest. She offered several creative money-saving ways to keep the budget intact. Step one is to cook way too much food. Yes, you heard me right. Carve out time to prep meals. Vegetarian chili, pot roast, meal loaf, an entire chicken - each are easy to make. Combine your ingredients, season and let your oven do the rest providing several days of lunches and dinners for you and your family. Don't forget to pack your lunch in advance, too. This could save you up to $10 a day, offer healthier food choices, reduce waste and maybe even trim the waistline.

Since you are prepping, save some extra cash by chopping, cutting and portioning out everything from produce to nuts, to cheese to meat. Check out the "Ugly" produce. These could be dented potatoes, curvy carrots and blemished apples. Not only are ugly fruits and vegetables as nutritious, but more affordable; Often marked as much as 50 percent off. Stocking up on sale items is an added savings keeping your budget under control. Buy bulk, prepare and freeze individual servings saving time and money. Are you constantly throwing away fresh fruits and vegetables that go bad too quickly? Consider frozen options.

Consumer Reports adds that you should shop strategically sticking to in-season items when buying fresh, make better use of your freezer, freezing overripe fruit and vegetables for smoothies, breads, jams or sauces, scan the labels to make sure the product is truly healthy and opt for fewer ingredients leaning towards whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins rather than processed.

Do you need a bit more structure and help? Consider speaking with a nutritionist from one of our Lake Nona healthcare facilities. Orlando Health provides nutritional counseling for anyone interested in learning how to live a healthier life and prevent or manage diabetes, high blood pressure and other weight related disorders. Nutrition is the pillar of the CREATION health philosophy offered by AdventHealth. Their expert dieticians provide comprehensive nutrition counseling helping clients gain tools and knowledge making positive, beneficial and lasting lifestyle changes. The VA Medical Center and Nemours Children's Health System also provide comprehensive education and guidance for patients throughout their system.

So, you've read labels, prepped, shopped with a cause and sought out the professionals, but a person can only be so good, right? What if you need a break and want to eat out? I'm so glad you asked. Lake Nona has a variety of restaurants that offer delicious options on the healthier side. Some of our East Orlando Chamber Restaurant members with menus that will tantalize your taste buds include Boxi Park, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, Canvas Restaurant & Market, Dickey's Barbecue Pit Lake Nona, Park Pizza & Brewing Co., PDQ and Sus Hi Eatstation. The exciting news is that each will participate in our Feast in the East catering showcase March 28th at Avalon Park Community Center. Join us to sample a tasting from more than 30 restaurants throughout the 440 square miles of East Orlando. It is a great place for businesses who cater in, to try before they buy and "Go Further with Food" during National Nutrition Month. Happy eating.

Member Highlight: Chef Jason Bergeron

Lake Nona is a "leading-edge living and community development" now offering true experiences in culinary excellence. One of the Tavistock Restaurant Collection restaurants and member of the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce is Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, an innovative restaurant offering a colorful menu of small plates, craft beers, fine wines, specialty drinks and quality dining.

Chef Jason Bergeron pushes the limits of creativity pulling inspiration from the local culture and ingredients. Where did his inspiration come from? Chef Jason has wanted to be a Chef for as long as he could remember. He says his mom wasn't the best cook in the world, opening an opportunity for him to show his natural culinary talent and desire creating family meals at nine years of age. Rather than jumping straight into college, he took the advice of mentors, working in the field making sure he remained passionate about his craft. Doing so cemented the deal, graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and kicking off his career.

Since it is National Nutrition Month, we asked what he would recommend for someone looking for a lighter, nutritious meal. The Tuscan Kale and Quinoa salad is an adventurous locally inspired meal packed with nutrients, proteins and super foods. Just what the doctor ordered. Bon Appetit!


Crema de Nona - Stress Free Lead Focused Networking

Every Tuesday from 8:30 - 9:30 AM

Dickey's Barbecue Pit - Lake Nona

9368 Narcoossee Rd., #101

Orlando, FL 32827


EOCC Educational Series: Business Finances & Taxes is "On the Menu"

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

East Orlando Chamber

12301 Lake Underhill Rd., Ste. 245

Orlando, FL 32828


Chamber Luncheon: "Your Business & Cyber-security - The Struggle & Need is Real"

Featuring our panel of experts: Steve Hardee (AdventHealth); Adam Losey (Losey, PLLC) & Jack Norman (Full Sail University/ Core & Main)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

11:30 AM - 1:15 PM

Boxi Park

6877 Tavistock Lakes Blvd.

Orlando, FL 32827


Coffee Club Semoran at Bonefish Grill Orlando Gateway

Thursday, March 21, 2019 (3rd Thursday of every month) from 8:30 - 9:30 AM

Bonefish Grill Orlando Gateway

5463 Orlando Gateway Village Circle

Orlando, FL 32812


Coffee with the Commissioner - Orange County District 3 Mayra Uribe

Friday, March 22, 2019 from 8:00 - 10:00 AM

Keiser University

5600 Lake Underhill Road

Orlando, FL 32807

*space is limited


Coffee Club Nona at Sam's Club Lake Nona

Thursday, March 28, 2019 (4th Thursday of every month) from 8:30 - 9:30 AM

Sam's Club Lake Nona

11920 Narcoossee Rd.

Orlando, FL 32832


Feast in the East Business Restaurant & Catering Showcase

Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 4:00 - 9:00 PM

Avalon Park Community Center

13401 Tanja King Blvd.

Orlando, FL 32828

Creating Quality & Affordable Insurance Options

Avalon Insurance Services is extremely proud to have created the EOCC group benefits plans available to all EOCC members. In a current environment where major medical insurance is becoming hard to attain and even more difficult to afford, what we have created provides options to the employers and employees of the EOCC by offering true group insurance supplemental plans to all its members.

The policies created by Avalon Insurance Services for the EOCC are true group products. The policy is in the name of the EOCC, like an employer plan. There is no minimal size needed for a group to enroll. This means smaller groups that are not large enough to offer true group insurance can now do so through their membership with the EOCC. Second, the employer has no obligation or liability with the benefits offered. The policies are true group policies in the name of the EOCC so the company has no payroll deduction needs, no administration of the products and no liability for the coverages offered. Finally, the group products offer a competitive rate. Most products offered are less than $20 in monthly premium versus hundreds of dollars for major medical coverage.

Creating true group insurance supplemental employee benefit plans for the EOCC has ultimately brought affordable options to employers and employees who before did not have any.

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