What is “WooFood”?

woo foodOne of the requirements is that “A WooFood dish must taste good”. In my opinion, that’s a pretty good start.

The WooFood certification was created by three medical students from Massachusetts who decided that healthy eating shouldn’t be reserved for meals at home- it should be an option anywhere you eat.

How often have you gone out to dinner and felt overwhelmed by lists of unhealthy options with little to no alternative? Well, here’s the good news: several restaurants in Worcester already have multiple WooFood dishes on their menus, and the movement is gradually swelling in popularity. Some of my personal favorites are Sweet WorcesterCafe Manzi’s, and The Flying Rhino– but I’ll let you decide for yourself by looking at this list of WooFood certified restaurants.

NU Cafe: Chicken Pesto Panini with Chips and Salsa. Photo taken by Emma Huggard
NU Cafe: Chicken Pesto Panini with Chips and Salsa. Photo taken by Emma Huggard

For an entire establishment to achieve WooFood certification, it must have “at least two WooFood Certified Vegetarian Dishes and two Non-vegetarian WooFood Certified Dishes”. Each restaurant, diner, bar or cafe that wants to get the WooFood certification on a certain dish has to meet the following criteria:

“A WoodFood Certified Dish must:

  1. Consists of at least 1/2 fresh or frozen fruits and/or vegetables
  2. Consists of only whole grains (if dish includes more than 0.5 oz of grains)
  3. Use healthful fats like olive oil or canola oil if fats are used
  4. Contain less than 500 mg of sodium
  5. Use a creative and descriptive name
  6. Must taste good!

A WF Dish can have:

Minimal amounts of cheese and  dairy (1 oz of full fat dairy)

  1. Less than 3 oz of red meat, duck, pork, or dark meat of poultry or poultry with skin AND/OR
  2. Minimal amounts of cheese and  dairy (1 oz of full fat dairy)”
Inside NU Cafe.  Photo taken by Becky Musgrave
Inside NU Cafe. Photo taken by Becky Musgrave

The coolest part? Some of these WooFood eateries go above and beyond.

Today, three of my friends traveled to NU Cafe (WF certified) where a fundraiser was being held for two of our peers going on an immersion trip. Before the girls left, they sent  me a snapchat of NU Cafe’s about page: “At night it turns into a hip restaurant with an after 5PM menu featuring local and craft beers and wine….our coffee is  certified organic as well as fair trade whenever possible, our fruit smoothies are made with real, whole fruits and real juice… Our food is made to order with the freshest ingredients.”  Likewise, Sweet Worcester (run and owned by Aliana Eisenhauer, a featured star on the Food Network’s Chopped and Cupcake Wars,) makes a concerted effort to incorporate local ingredients in its menu.

Perhaps one day WooFood will be a path to “locavore” eating. For now, it’s off to a great start by encouraging healthy options in the public sphere. Keep it up, WooFood!

If you’re interested in more about craft beer, fair trade wine, and organic and fair trade coffee, follow these hyperlinks to some of our previous posts!

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