It's difficult not to eat stuffed peppers, pot pies, burgers and quesadillas without thinking you're going to have to compensate for it with an hour on the treadmill and 50 laps in the pool.
But all those things can actually be good for you. Honest.
Claire Criscuolo is the founder and proprietor of legendary health food emporium Claire's Corner Copia, in New Haven, Connecticut (www.clairescornercopia.com). She wants to deliver a message to the rest of the world: Healthy doesn't have to hurt.
"For more than three decades, we've been working on creating healthy foods that don't taste like healthy foods," Criscuolo said. "When most people think of health foods, they think of bland, gritty or virtually tasteless substitutes for the fatty, unhealthy foods they'd prefer to eat. Instead, we don't try to imitate anything -- all our recipes and dishes are created from scratch, with originality and creativity. We work hard to buy sustainable and organic ingredients because we think we should take as much care in preparing our menu items as people should be taking in their health and diets. For instance, we eliminated trans fats from our menus in 2001, replacing shortenings in our pie crusts with organic and trans fat free and our pie crusts remain tender yet flaky, the way most people like them."
Criscuolo's gourmet vegetarian restaurant has always been more than a few years ahead of its time with the attitude that healthy fare can also be regarded as gourmet cuisine.
"Popular foods that are loaded with delicious and healthy vegetables include comfort foods, like stuffed peppers, vegetable pot pies, and our Portobello stacks with braised organic baby spinach, sun-dried tomato pesto, and feta cheese," Criscuolo said. "Our Quesadilla Zio Javier has organic black beans, tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and salsa verde with organic avocado, and we make our own veggie burgers. It's all healthy, but it all tastes like the richest gourmet fare."