Solving a Healthy Diner’s Dilemma

The menu items consist primarily of low-sodium, low-fat dishes of plant-based protein and whole grains, with no animal products
Barbara Kinnier, the community outreach director for the Wellness Foundation of East Hampton, organized an effort to find restaurants that would serve plant-based entrees and to bring them to the attention of diners.

   Since 2005, men and women from the local community ranging in age from 18 to 91 have been learning how to integrate plant-based nutrition, fitness, and stress management into their lifestyle through educational programs from the Wellness Foundation of East Hampton. For many who follow the program, daily life involves eating on the go or dining out, recently made more doable with a partnership between restaurants and markets that offer meals that follow a strict criteria.
    Developed for those taking part in the organization’s seven-week Wellness Challenge, the menu items consist primarily of low-sodium, low-fat dishes of plant-based protein and whole grains, with no animal products. “People can still go out and have a satisfying meal, so they don’t feel like they are deprived,” Barbara Kinnier, the program’s director, said last Thursday.
    She works with restaurant managers and chefs to adapt dishes. Some, such as the Golden Pear restaurant, simply have to replace sausage with avocado in a breakfast wrap, for example. Others go a step further.
    Humberto Guallpa, the chef at Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, created lunch and dinner offerings specifically for the program, said the restaurant’s owner, Jerry Wawryk. The healthier dishes are signified by a green “W” on the menu. During dinner hours, the restaurant serves a thin quinoa pasta with local organic vegetables,finely chopped, simmered, and flavored with a cilantro almond pesto. Mr. Guallpa said more options will be available in season, and that he is always happy to cater to customers with dietary restrictions, including vegans and those with food allergies.
    In Amagansett, Stuart’s Seafood Market has “W” menu items, as does Mary’s Marvelous, also located in East Hampton. The Golden Pear offers breakfast and lunch Wellness Challenge dishes in its Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, and East Hampton locations. Also in Bridgehampton, Almond Bar and Restaurant participates.
    Provisions in Sag Harbor offers its own wellness menu, and program-compliant dishes are also available at LT Burger, Muse in the Harbor, Dockside, and Sen in Sag Harbor, and Simply Sublime in East Hampton.
    Gurneys Inn and Spa was immediately receptive to the idea in Montauk, Ms. Kinnier said, and in East Hampton, Babette’s has quite a few “W” selections. The list in East Hampton goes on to include East Hampton Gourmet, Rowdy Hall, Fierro’s Pizza, the Golden Pear, Hampton Market, Hampton Seafood Company, the Mill House Inn, and Pepperoni’s. In Wainscott, Wellness Challenge selections are available at Breadzilla and Nichol’s restaurant.
    It is a win-win situation, said Ms. Kinnier. Restaurants love it because servers don’t have to go to the cooks and chefs asking questions. Patrons love it because they can eat out while also sticking to the program.
    Ms. Kinnier began her wellness career when she founded the first Weight Watcher’s group in Sag Harbor, which she led for five years. She then became certified as a fitness instructor and a personal trainer.
    Now a nutritional consultant, she has used her passion to educate about health and wellness at adult education programs in Sag Harbor and East Hampton too, and is a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
    The list of Wellness Challenge-approved restaurants and markets is growing. Those that wish to be added have been asked to contact Ms. Kinnier at barbara@wfeh.org.