January 18, 2013 by
Kitchener Waterloo has a growing number of establishments offering locally sourced food options for eating out or on the go, and I think I have eaten at most of them! So I was happily surprised to pop into Healthy Foods and More on Bridgeport Road this week to pick up some vegetable culture starter, and walk out instead with some DIY instructions as well as a delicious, fresh made take-out lunch for my husband and I.
Their website indicates that they are Waterloo’s largest natural food store and gluten free bakery/cafe. The baked goods section is indeed huge, and offers a wide array of cakes, bread, tortillas, muffins, cookies, and anything else you can think of, a true refuge for the gluten free, who often have to do without these types of treats.
The lunch counter had some excellent options to choose from, making it difficult to narrow it down to two selections. On offer was Tex-Mex turkey meatloaf, an African peanut stew served with basmati rice, several varieties of quiche, a vegetarian pizza, and three kinds of soup. All the choices were gluten-free, and many were vegan or vegetarian, making this lunch counter very accessible to those with specific dietary requirements. Ingredients are listed for most of the offerings on an accompanying card, but if you have any questions the knowledgeable and friendly staff are happy to answer them.
It was fairly cold and grey outside, and the meatloaf and peanut stew seemed particularly warming and comforting. Each heaping serving was a very reasonable: 6.99 and more than enough to satisfy even a very rumbly belly.
There were a few types of salads in the cold fridge and I couldn’t resist the draw of a small container of garlicky potato salad, also gluten free and spiked with fresh dill and a light vinegar dressing. I took our lunches back to the office, but there are 4 or 5 small tables for eating in as well. Need a rest from shopping their wide selection of wares? Maybe just grab a bowl of soup and then linger a bit longer with a treat from the huge display of baked goods, and a cup of fresh coffee or tea.
Both dishes were really delicious. The meatloaf had an unexpected creaminess to it, and despite being jammed with shredded vegetables and lentils along with the ground turkey, was light and fluffy, and topped with a tangy, not-too-sweet glaze. The peanut stew was filled with beautiful chunks of white chicken meat, chick peas, carrots, onions, and of course, peanuts! It was served over a generous portion of fluffy basmati rice, a nice compliment to the rich stew. Our side of potato salad had still-firm potato chunks awash in dill, garlic, and a tangy vinaigrette and paired really well with the meatloaf. We finished every last bite, and were pleasantly stuffed. Next time, I will save half my lunch so that I have room for a brownie, they looked amazing. After all, if you buy a baked good in a health food store, the calories don’t count. I read that somewhere....
Oh, and as for the vegetable culture starter (I’m determined to make some cultured, fermented veggies – I hear they are good for flu prevention, and we need all the help we can get this season!) one of the very helpful sales associates explained to me how to make my own natural whey (as a substitute for starter) with kefir. They carried a local, organic kefir in their cold fridge so mission accomplished and a full happy belly. Win-win!
You can find out what Healthy Foods and More is serving daily for lunch, as well as other valuable nuggets of information by following them on Twitter: @hltyfoodsnmore
They are located at 75 Bridgeport Road East #2, Waterloo, ON N2J 2K1 and their website is www.heathyfoodsandmore.com
Michelle Sullivan lives in Kitchener and is passionate about all things food related and about sustainable, healthy living.