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New Vietnamese restaurant prepares to open at former Blarney Stone in Worcester

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WORCESTER – When her plans to open a restaurant were put on hold during the pandemic, Trang Le was committed to helping her community in every possible way.

Le, a Worcester native, juggled her catering business, volunteering in multiple pantries, cooking meals for the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, and working as a cultural mediator at Worcester Interfaith while looking after her three children, parents and working on the opening their new Mint restaurant on Maywood Street.

“I just love being in Worcester, especially last year,” said Le. “I’ve been so involved with the community in everything I do and I love seeing how people in the city really go out of their way to help each other.”

Le said she hopes Mint will open by September at the latest and will be disappointed if it takes longer. She said she wanted to open asap, waiting to complete the licensing process and do some renovation on the restaurant that used to be the Blarney Stone Pub. She said the room lacks a kitchen, an obvious necessity for Le’s restaurant.

Le was inspired to open her own restaurant after completing the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Launching Diverse Food Entrepreneurs in Worcester program in 2019, Van.

Mint isn’t Le’s first grocery store. Van owned Tortilla Sam’s restaurant, formerly on Highland Street, before it closed in 2013.

Le said that through the Diverse Food Entrepreneurs program, she learned everything she needed to start a business that helped her get her own business license so she could host pop-up events.

While her restaurant plans were put on hold during the pandemic, Le found other food-related options to focus on. She has volunteered with the Worcester Refugee and Immigrant Food Pantry, Angels Answer, Worcester Community Fridges, and the Southeast Asian Coalition.

She said she spent a lot of time at SEACMA preparing meals that would be delivered to needy Latino and Asian families, mostly elders and those with COVID-19.

Le said she served an estimated 2,300 meals through SEACMA from August 2020 to May 2021. She said she took over all of the cooking in October and eventually recruited her husband and son to help her prepare about 77 meals a week.

Having so many elders served made Le give priority to healthy recipes, she said by adding enough protein and vegetables to each serving and not using too much sodium. She said she was inspired when she started looking after her parents, who are in their late 80s with high cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

“Since they couldn’t take care of themselves instead of taking them to a nursing home, my siblings and I take turns looking after them,” says Le. “When preparing their meals, I pay close attention to what I cook for them because they have health problems.”

Now she’s more aware of what she’s cooking after seeing how food affects someone’s health for a lifetime.

“All of this has a long-term impact on your health,” she said. “I think the whole experience of taking care of my parents has made me more aware of healthy eating.”

At her catering company Ăn Catering – which means “to eat” in Vietnamese – Le said she makes sure that her food is both healthy and tasty. Le said the Mint restaurant serves Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisine with a modern twist.

The restaurant is family-run, with Les Mann and Son standing in the kitchen and her sister helping out too. Le said they plan to hire 10 additional employees.

Le has yet to go before the Worcester License Commission to get approval for their applied for licenses, but has applied for a liquor license, ordinary drinks dealer license, and entertainment license.

Le said she always knew she was going to open Mint in Worcester.

“I wouldn’t think of going to another city,” she said. “I feel rooted in Worcester.”

Healthy Eating

The #1 Worst Breakfast to Order at McDonald’s

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Breakfast is always a treat, and a drive through the drive through can be a fun way to get up and shine. Unless you’ve made menu choices that are too decadent, which can make you feel heavier for the rest of the day. No fun!

The good news is that, with a little wisdom, choosing a fast food breakfast that won’t ruin your day can be easy. If you’re heading out for a McDonald’s breakfast, we’ve researched the menu. Read on to learn about the worst breakfast you can order at McDonald’s, as well as some options that will fill you up without feeling like you have let yourself down.

RELATED: 7 Healthiest Foods You Can Eat Right Now

And if you’re curious about the nutritional values ​​of your favorite food, find out what the worst ranch dressing is on grocery store shelves.

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Yes, we kept it simple and based our worst breakfast order choice at McDonald’s based on calorie count. Calories aren’t the only way to gauge how good or bad a particular food is for you – but especially for fast food items that are naturally high in fat, sodium, and other nutritional information, a calorie check can be one be an easy way to narrow down which items to choose and which to avoid.

RELATED: You Should Be Burning This Many Calories Every Day, Experts Say

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Let’s start by pointing out that the fast food giant has some decent products that, if you grab them occasionally, are unlikely to ruin your nutritional and wellness goals.

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin and hash brown on trayMoab Republic / Shutterstock

Even most of McDonald’s breakfast combo dishes are workable if you’re not in transit per se. A choice like the McGriddle bacon, egg and cheese combo weighs 570 calories, which is almost a third of the calories in the standard 2,000-calorie diet. While it doesn’t really fit most definitions of “healthy”, most people are probably okay with enjoying it every now and then.

Jamba Juice Purely OrangeCourtesy of Jamba Juice

The right fruit juice can offer great health benefits, so we’re not against juice overall. But ordering McDonald’s orange juice with a combo meal – or regular lemonade – consumes more calories and more sugar than a coffee.

RELATED: A Major Side Effect of Drinking Coffee Out of a To-Go Mug, According to Experts

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It might seem like a given, but by choosing not to include meat in your McDonald’s breakfast, you can keep the calories (plus fat, sodium, and others) low.

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Consider requesting bacon. That’s because a single McDonald’s sausage patty drives the calorie count of a breakfast item about 120 calories higher than bacon. (That’s not to say we strongly recommend bacon – read that eating bacon could cause this type of liver disease, new studies reveal.)

At 450 calories, the sausage burrito meal has the fewest calories of any McDonald’s breakfast combination. (The Egg McMuffin Meal has the same thing.)

RELATED: 15 Unhealthy Fast Food Breakfasts That You Should Never Eat, According to Nutritionists

McDonalds big breakfastCourtesy McDonald’s

It may not be shocking that number 1 on the McDonald’s breakfast menu is the Big Breakfast of Hotcakes. This is a belly breaker – McDonald’s describes the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes as “a warm biscuit, hearty hot sausage, fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, and golden brown hotcakes with a side of real butter and the sweet taste of maple”. (Note that they don’t say “real maple syrup,” which may tell you you don’t even have to read the syrup packet to know there’s a lot of fructose in it.)

At 1,340 calories, this is one of the highest calorie items on the entire McDonald’s menu. It even beats the 1,270 calories of the Double Quarter Pounder Combo Meal.

Those heavy carbohydrates, the saturated fat, the fried foods: this isn’t a recipe for feeling energized for the day. Unless you share this with a few other people, stay away from McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes.

RELATED: The Best Pancakes in Every State

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McDonald’s says the Sausage Burrito, Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, and an Egg McMuffin all have 310 to 320 calories. As an alternative, a single order of hash browns is only 140 calories.

All of this shows that knowing what to ask for can also be better for your health when it comes to fast food breakfast!

Get the nutritional news you need by signing up for our newsletter and checking out The # 1 Worst Blizzard to Order at Dairy Queen. Also read:

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Healthy Eating

The 5 Reasons and 6 Tips to Make It Happen

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There is no better gift than good health. On this Father’s Day, help your father or someone important in your life say goodbye to flesh – forever. Although he loves the barbecue season, there are so many important reasons for him to avoid meat, be it for his health, the environment or the animals. Below is an overview of why pop should part with the (traditional) burger and simple tips to ease the transition to a meatless life.

Why should men give up meat?

1. Eliminating meat is good for your heart health.

“As men get older, their bodies naturally begin to store fat in the middle of their abdomen,” says Trista K. Best, MPH, RD, LDN, at Balance One, referring to this study. “This accumulation of fat can lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. The fat in meat, saturated fats, along with physical inactivity and other lifestyle choices increase fat storage in this area. “

Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, Cardiology Dietitian, author of the cookbook The Truly Easy Heart Healthy, added, “A recent study showed that taller red meat with smaller ventricles, poorer heart function, and stiffer arteries, all of them Are signs of poor heart health. This may be because red meat contains high levels of saturated fat and TMAO production that stiffen the arteries and promote dangerous plaque build-up, leading to narrowing of the arteries and future cardiac events. ”Yikes, we’re passing that on.

2. Meat can increase your risk of cancer.

Another compelling reason for men to reduce or eliminate meat? No other organization than the World Health Organization has classified red meat as a Class 1 carcinogen, which is equivalent to smoking cigarettes. Read this to Dad: WHO says, “Eating processed meat is” carcinogenic to humans “and consuming red meat is” likely to be carcinogenic to humans. ” Skip the dogs and opt for meatless choices on this Father’s Day.

“According to a study published in Nutrients, eating red and processed meat was associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer, which men are more prone to than women,” said Brittany Lubeck, MS, RD and advisor to Oh So Spotless. If you need more evidence that a plant-based diet is the way to go, check out this article on how a Harvard study found you can lower your risk of cancer (spoiler: it’s a healthy plant-based diet).

3. You don’t have to worry about breaking up meat and affecting your testosterone levels.

If dad heard that vegan food can affect his testosterone levels, think again. “Men no longer have to worry that a plant-based diet will lower their testosterone levels because this theory has proven to be untrue,” says Lübeck, citing this study on the relationship between plant-based diets and testosterone levels in US adults .

4. Avoiding meat generally reduces the risk of a long list of health conditions.

It is not only the risk of heart disease and cancer that affects meat consumption, but diabetes and obesity as well. “Contrary to popular belief, men need to watch their meat consumption to avoid excessive consumption of saturated fatty acids, which put them at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer,” says Lübeck. “A plant-based diet was also found to reduce cases of metabolic syndrome, obesity and coronary artery disease.”

Best adds, “A vegan diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome in both men and women. One study shows that the stroke death rate in men following a plant-based vegan diet was 22 percent lower. “

Research has also shown that a predominantly plant-based diet can also reduce the risk of dementia. Some doctors are even telling their clients to go plant-based to reduce their risk of contracting coronavirus.

5. It’s just not that cool.

For your health. For the animals. For the planet. Eating all that meat is, unfortunately, partly a social matter. “Meat and men seem to go hand in hand. A study by the University of Hawaii at Manoa found that men who were worried about the status of their manhood decided to eat more meat to restore their manhood, ”explains Lübeck. Just as smoking was once “hip”, the meat and grill culture also has a certain association with masculinity, although there is no shortage of incredible vegan bodybuilders and athletes who live on a plant-based diet.

Also, instead of complaining about the meat = masculinity factor, how about a sobering statistic with this meat platter: “Men would benefit greatly from limiting their meat consumption, as research-based science shows that high consumption of red meat is associated with it is at increased risk for heart disease. “[In a study published last year by Al-Shaar et al.] for every additional serving of red meat per day, it increased coronary artery disease by 12 percent! ”That heaped rib platter doesn’t look so good anymore, does it?

bonus: If your dad goes against the grain and adopts a plant-based or predominantly plant-based lifestyle, he can inspire those around him to do the same. (Read: Uncle John.)

Tips to help dad stop eating meat

1. Start slowly.

“Going plant-based doesn’t have to be made cold. This is a change that will only be sustainable if the individual is fully on board and convinced of the benefits, ”shares Best, highlighting research showing that eating a healthy plant-based diet in adults in the US can help lower risk for all causes of death.

“That’s why I recommend weaning yourself off the meat slowly,” she continues. It is best to eat plant-based foods one day a week for a full week, followed by two days the next week. “He can do this until he’s got a full week, or if he feels it’s getting easier, he can drive for several days at a time until he gets to his destination,” says Best.

2. Customize the way you look at the plate.

A little creativity in eating goes a long way. “Instead of the meat being the center of the meal, think of it as a side dish. Then [tell your dad to] are you considering taking a survey on how much red meat? [he is] eat in an average week and have a realistic expectation to slowly titrate back, ”suggests Routhenstein. “It can be easier to initially swap out red meat for grilled chicken or even dark chicken breasts. Focus on the plants first by filling your plate with veggies in a playful way – grill the veggies, use a spice mix you would use for the veggies’ red meat instead, or try different plant favorites from different cuisines. “

3. Try the “cut it in half” tip.

Routhenstein says if dad is used to eating two red meat burgers while grilling, it may help to have one red meat burger and then a grilled burger with black beans or vegetables. Following this rule of thumb can make it easier for your favorite person to switch to a more plant-based diet. “Or when [he is] Make a homemade burger, fill it up with cauliflower rice, frozen spinach, spices and mushrooms, which adds more plants but also reduces the actual consumption of red meat. “

4. Make friends with vegetable sources of protein.

“Some options for men who want to replace meat with vegetable protein are tofu or other soy products, beans, lentils, quinoa and nuts,” says Lübeck, adding that a vegetarian burger or an impossible burger are other options (like the Beyond .). Burgers and other similar products), but she cautions people to watch out for the saturated fat in some of them. “Adding a delicious fruit and vegetable smoothie with a serving of protein powder to your day is a great way to meet your daily protein goals when you’re eating less meat,” she adds.

5. Eat more vegetables.

But let them taste amazing. “Eating more vegetables is easier than it sounds. If you are already a grill master, you can cook your vegetables on the grill, ”says Lübeck. “Vegetables can be placed on skewers or directly on the grill. Some vegetables that are particularly well cooked on the grill are zucchini and other pumpkins, onions, peppers and mushrooms. “

6. Get dad to try new recipes.

Whether you buy him a herbal cookbook, or better yet, cook with him in person, this is a great way to ease the transition to a meatless life. “If he tries a new herbal recipe every week, he can discover new foods he didn’t know he liked and shut others out,” shares Best, adding that he will have to do so after a month or two quite a few herbal recipes that he likes. “I recommend using one of these recipes as a meat alternative for the grill, like mushroom caps.” (Fellas just love to grill.)

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Healthy Eating

Ways Eating Fruit Can Help You Lose Weight, Say Dietitians

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Cherries, grapes, white peaches. Bananas, apricots, melon. Watermelon, apples, pears. We could go on like this, but let’s get to the heart of the matter: fruit is refreshing, tasty and affordable. It’s really pretty darn good for you too, and can help you step up your weight loss efforts – a big time. To that end, we tapped nutritionists to share all of the amazing ways fruit can keep you full and slim. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthily, don’t miss out on 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

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“Fruits are low in calories but high in nutrients, including fiber, which helps you feel full not just for a short time but for hours between meals. This often results in lower caloric intake, so it can help manage your weight, “comments Joanna Foley, RD, CLT.

Speaking of topping up, not all fruits are created equal. What’s one of your best ways to refuel between or during meals to curb overeating? The darling of all millennials: avocados. “Avocados are one of the most fiber dense fruits and they also have the benefit of providing healthy fats that will also help keep you full,” she says, noting that there are many ways to charge avocados, from soaking them in smoothies to add sandwiches to them as healthy, filling toppings.

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“Eating fruits that are high in flavonoid content can help control weight and limit weight gain. Several classes of flavonoids have been shown to decrease energy intake, which can help with weight loss, ”says Tara Tomaino, RD, Registered Nutritionist with The Park, a New Jersey-based work-life campus providing wellness and concierge services from The Connell Company. Just check out this research. “Strawberries and blueberries are two high-flavonoid fruits that should be included in a healthy diet. Add these brightly colored berries to your day by topping oatmeal, granola, or yogurt with sliced ​​strawberries. Frozen berries are great for one.” Bowl of Greek yogurtyo or a whole grain muffin mix, “she adds.

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“The fiber in fruit ensures that your blood sugar doesn’t rise too much [compared to meals that don’t contain fiber after eating] and makes your body more responsive to insulin. Improved insulin sensitivity helps manage your weight, ”says Foley. “Berries are particularly good at balancing blood sugar levels and fat burning, and can be easily added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or eaten alone for a delicious and nutritious treat.” A berry lover? These are the best states for berry picking.

READ MORE: 8 Low Carbohydrate Fruits For Weight Loss

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Begin a cycle of habits that are beneficial to you by making an effort to eat fruit every day. “Making healthy choices (like eating fruit) can often increase the motivation to make other healthy lifestyle changes that can add up and promote weight loss over time,” commented Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, Nutritionist for Next Luxury. For some of the best fruits useful for weight loss, check out the nine best fruits for weight loss approved by a nutritionist.

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Instead of reaching for that pint of sorbet after dinner, a handful of frozen grapes may do very well – with no added sugar and high in antioxidants and other polyphenols, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND award-winning nutritionist and partner of Grapes from California. “Instead of lemonade, which is the number one addition to sugar in the US, replace it with a fruit smoothie,” she also suggests.

Following Amidor, Gariglio-Clelland shares: “Fruit is naturally rich in sugar, which makes it a sweet alternative to added sugar in traditional desserts. Replacing ice cream for berries with a dash of cream is a decadent but healthier treat, as is fresh fruit smoothie with no added sugar. ” Berries and cream are coming soon, you don’t have to tell us twice.

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Mmmh, bring along the gut bacteria that are good for you. “Eating fruit can improve the diversity of your gut bacteria, which research has shown plays an important role in weight management,” comments Foley. “Apples contain a type of prebiotic fiber that helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut,” she adds, noting that some excellent ways to enjoy apples, if you’re not just eating a whole fruit, are through them cut into salads or oatmeal.

READ MORE: 9 Ways Bananas Can Help You Lose Weight, Say Dietitians

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Lots of fruits are good for your waistline, but let’s hear it for these summer favorites. “Watermelon, when consumed as part of an overall anti-inflammatory diet, can aid weight loss. Participants in one study who consumed a more anti-inflammatory diet including watermelon experienced a reduction in body fat,” says Tomaino, referring to the study. “The high water content of watermelons promotes a feeling of satiety, which can prevent overeating. Whip up a salad with watermelon, feta cheese and mint leaves or mix watermelon with ice cream and lime juice for a refreshing slushie, ”she suggests.

For more information, see The # 1 Best Fruits To Eat, According to a Nutritionist.

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