08 February 19  |  Dining   |  

Food Menus and New Year’s Resolutions

Incorporating Resolutions into Golden Ocala Food MenusChef Rick Albaugh

Last year, Chef Rick Alabaugh talked about the multifaceted process of constructing food menus at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. And the process of incorporating health and fitness New Year’s resolutions into food menus is just as intricate — but only in the sense of knowing what to look for and take into consideration. Once you understand your goals and restrictions, you are home free. If you’re ready to make a change today, you’re already off to a great start. It just so happens that Chef Rick is a fitness advocate who is always approached by members wanting to change their diet, while maintaining the utmost enthusiasm for what’s on their plate. He then develops menus for those members, containing some of the foods you will read about here.


Eliminations and RevisionsQuinoa

The very first action item when it comes to creating a healthier menu is to eliminate and revise certain foods and the ingredients within them. Start with carbs and sugars — they should be controlled, not eliminated, based on your dietary restrictions and other ways that you are maintaining your health. For example, if you are working out, you will need fuel, and therefore, certain carbs. Other carbs can be swapped out for wheat — unless, of course, you are going for a gluten-free diet. In that case, soy bean would be ideal. For meals that contain little to no carbs, farro is another idea — it’s a whole grain containing several properties that may contribute to weight loss — much like barley and quinoa.

Duck DishProperly balancing out carbs and sugars with calories is just as much about what is made as it is about HOW it’s made. Olive oil goes a long way, as does butter and fresh herbs like garlic, shallots, thyme, oregano, parsley, sage and rosemary. Margarine and heavy cream, such as that found in alfredo sauce, does not. When it comes to meals themselves, it’s all about this versus that. Meat is a good example. Red meats are often difficult to digest and full of fat, so you may want to choose filet mignon over ribeye or a New York strip. Filet is lean like chicken, turkey, duck and shrimp.  Something similar can be said about pork tenderloin, instead of ribs or brisket. For protein, cheese is a great option — just think cheddar and not brie. When it comes to seafood, white fish is the ultimate — seabass, grouper, cod, snapper, salmon and more — especially with lemon butter and white wine. When it comes to salad, the nutritional value of the lettuce can easily be destroyed by an unhealthy dressing. Stick to white balsamic or passion fruit vinaigrettes — both fat-reduced favorites at Golden Ocala.

If you recall none of these top Chef Rick examples, remember to shop around the aisles, not in the aisles of your local Publix or other supermarkets. None of these items has to be organic, because that gets costly and is associated with years of controversy debating a health guarantee.

No matter what, everything should be consumed in moderation. Tuna is good example of this — once per week, but not every day, due to traces of mercury. Beverages are the same way — a few glasses of wine or beer per week. Moderation also applies to portion size — six ounces recommended.


Making Notoriously Unhealthy Meals Healthy

TomatoesIn an ongoing effort to make notoriously unhealthy meals healthy, Chef Rick and his team show members just how easy it is to do with the ingredients they already have. Pizza with sausage and pepperoni from Domino’s is a no no, but making it fresh and full of nutrients, without sparing flavor, is a different story. All you need is eggs, water and flour for the dough, along with tomatoes — instead of jarred sauce — fresh mozzarella, zucchini and yellow squash. Looking for something a bit more ethnic? Try Thai shrimp with wheat flour, butter milk and Thai chili sauce. How about desserts, such as Golden Ocala’s famous lava cake? All it takes is Equal or Sweet‘N Low, as well as Carib honey, instead of sugar.


Food Resources at Golden Ocala

As a member of Golden Ocala, you can enjoy all these meals, as well as learn how to make each and every one right in your own kitchen. In addition to Chef’s Tables and Wine Dinners, Chef Rick hosts in-season classes and special-occasion clinics. And if you would like to determine exactly what you’re consuming, turn to our staff ‘s ChefTec App — the software used to build the menus that help you maintain your health, diet and that fitness-focused New Year’s resolution.

Want to get the most out of your membership, in term of culinary resources? Call (352) 629-6229.