WEDNESDAY, APR. 25: Diabetes and heart disease are two of the biggest killers in Bermuda. It can be hard to avoid the fatty, sugar-laden menu options so common on the island. It is good news then that the Lemon Tree Café on Queen Street has teamed up with the Bermuda Diabetes Association to formulate a variety of delicious daily diabetes and heart friendly lunch options. We spoke to director Elisha Huttick about the move.
Why have you decided to include a diabetes/heart friendly menu at Lemon Tree?
The idea originally came about as we have seen the amount of individuals in Bermuda impacted by diabetes and heart disease increase over the years. My husband and I have family and friends who have been impacted by diabetes, we thought that offering this type of meal would take some of the guess work out of healthy eating and would provide the greater population of Bermuda who like to dine out for lunch, with healthier choices. The menu we have designed is not only diabetic and heart friendly, but it encourages healthy eating for the larger population.
Are your chefs getting advice on their dishes?
We are delighted to have been working with Sara McKittrick from the Bermuda Diabetes Association, who reviews our healthy plate menu and advises our chef if we need to change portion size etc. One of the most important things we have learned is that correct portions are the most instrumental thing in healthy eating for diabetes, heart disease, weight loss and maintenance.
What are some of the dishes you have lined up?
The menus consist of lean proteins such as chicken or fish, whole grains and vegetables. Sample menus include: 4oz Garlic and Cajun seasoned Wahoo with a snow-pea salad, 3/4 cup cous cous with vegetables, 1 & 1/2 cups green beans with olive oil; 4oz Parmesan and Herb crusted chicken breast on a bed of spinach and onion, 2/3 cup whole grain rice, 1 & 1/2 cups mixed greens topped with our diabetic friendly homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
What sorts of ingredients are needed to be heart and diabetes friendly?
Balance is very important — substituting white breads, pastas, rice etc for whole grains. Increasing your daily intake of non-starchy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Avoiding breading on meats and fish. Substituting vegetable based oils, which have more flavour, for butter. Not using salad dressings that are full of sugar.
Do you hope the dishes will attract the general public who have no health concerns also?
We definitely hope that the Healthy Plate of the Day will attract the larger population. Although this is a great way to eat for people who are living with diabetes and heart disease, it also has health benefits for the entire population. Great healthy food, served fresh – ‘we do the thinking, you do the shrinking’.
Healthy eating does not have to be tasteless. All the dishes are designed to be flavourful and carry those positive health benefits.
We are also trying to be more environmentally friendly by encouraging customers to bring back their dishes or their own tupperware containers and receiving 25 cents off their meal.
To learn more about the Lemon Tree’s healthy plates of the day check them out on Facebook or visit www.lemontreecafe.bm.