Time For The Taste Of Chicago!

The Taste of Chicago begins one week from today. It's an event that people all over the world have come to the city to experience and one that I particularly love to attend. Restaurants from all over the city come together in one places offering some of their most popular and most unique menu items. It's a great opportunity to push outside of your box and taste a few things that you might not feel comfortable with typically.

Humana has generously provided Lattes, Life & Luggage with tickets to enjoy the Taste of Chicago. All opinions expressed remain my own.

Humana is returning to the Taste of Chicago this year with their Healthier Choices options. This year's program features 75 healthy food options from 29 Chicago restaurants that met the nutritional criteria. I had the opportunity to taste a few of the healthier options at last year-s event and was blown away by how delicious they were. Just because food is labeled as healthier does not mean it's lacking in flavor. See below for details regarding the Humana Healthier Choices program and scroll even farther for the full menu. A panel of five top Chicago-area physicians with expertise in diet and nutrition collaboratively judged each item to assure that nutritional values were met. Take a look and tell me in the comments what you're most looking forward to taste.

  • The Humana Healthier Choices will be identified by a new logo for 2016 – a green “H” with a circular arrow around it – which can be found on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths.
  • The Humana Healthier Choices list of items will be handed out at the Humana tent and can be downloaded at the Taste of Chicago website, via facebook.com/TheTasteOfChicago and through the newly established Taste of Chicago app.
  • For the second consecutive year, the 2016 list will also spotlight 49 vegetarian options – nearly two-thirds of the list – to cater to a larger sampling of health-conscious attendees
  • The program is also promoting six gluten-free items from the restaurant, Dia De Los Tamales, to accommodate the evolution of changing dietary restrictions and preferences.
  • All of the restaurants participating in the 2016 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their menu items for consideration for the Humana Healthier Choices program.
    • or an item to be considered, restaurants must submit nutritional details including calories, sodium content, saturated fat and the list of ingredients

About the Humana Healthier Choices Rewards Program:

  • After receiving a free Humana Healthier Choices Tag, which comes with a lanyard for a hands-free and convenient experience, participants can collect stamps by sampling any Humana Healthier Choices food item or participating in healthy activities at the Humana tent.
  • Once Taste-goers receive six stamps, they can drop off their badge at the Humana tent to be entered into random prize drawings, donated by the Taste of Chicago restaurants.
    • Prize winners will be announced on the evening of July 10.
    • On social media, Taste-goers are encouraged to join the conversation and share their Humana Healthier Choices food items on Instagram, mentioning @Humana, #TasteofChi and #HealthierChoices. 

About Humana's HappIEST Hour: Mocktail Challenge For Charity
Humana, along with WXRT-FM,  will host a healthy mocktail challenge between Catherine De Orio, host of WTTW-TV’s “Check, Please!,” and WXRT DJ Mary Dixon, who will defend her title as the winner of the healthy salsa challenge Humana hosted at the 2015 Taste of Chicago. The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, and include recipes filled with ingredients that provide healthier alternatives to common drinks. The panel of guest judges will include Chicago Bears alum Jay Hilgenberg and Jeff Joniak, WXRT DJ Johnny Mars and Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co.’s Carl Galvan. Following the event, Humana will award a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

About the Humana Tent at Taste of Chicago
Take a break from the July heat by enjoying a shaded seating area in the Humana tent, which will feature basic ways of staying healthy, including jumping rope, hula hooping and dancing, as well as a photo booth and prize wheels. The tent will be located on Columbus Drive between Jackson Blvd and the Buckingham Fountain.

HUMANA HEALTHIER CHOICES FOR TASTE OF CHICAGO 2016 (vegan options noted by a V)

Appetizers/Starters – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

  • Taste Portion of Seaweed Salad (V) – Arami
  • Taste Portion of Buta Hara – Arami
  • Taste Portion of Veggie Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen
  • Taste Portion of Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market
  • Taste Portion of Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Sambussa – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Taste Portion of Vegetarian Messob Misir Wat and Tikle Gomen (V) – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Taste Portion of Doner Box – Doner Men
  • Chili Lime Watermelon (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Taste Portion of Chili Lime Watermelon (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Taste Portion of Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Sandwich (without cheese) – Gino’s Steaks Truck
  • Ginger Garlic Wings – Iyanze
  • Taste Portion of Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Tacos – La Cocinita
  • Taste Portion of Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s
  • Taste Portion of Cauliflower Salad (V) – nana
  • Taste Portion of Avocado Fries (V) – nana
  • Celtic Corn on the Cob (V) – O’Brien’s Restaurant
  • Sweet Potato Potato Salad (V) – Pork & Mindy’s
  • Taste Portion of Bao to the Pork – Pork & Mindy’s
  • Taste Portion of Pulled Chicken Slider – Pork chop
  • Taste Portion of Reverse Coney (V) – Taco in a Bag

Main Dishes – Less than 500 calories, 500 mg sodium and 4 g saturated fat

  • Veggie Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen
  • Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market
  • Grilled Steak Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill
  • Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill
  • Taste Portion of Smoked Alligator - Chicago's Dog House
  • Taste Portion of Smoked Rattlesnake with Rabbit - Chicago's Dog House
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Sambussa – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Vegetarian Messob Misir Wat and Tikle Gomen (V) – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Donër Box – Donër Men
  • Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Chicken Sandwich (without cheese) – Gino’s Steaks Truck
  • Vegetarian Greens and Plantains (V) – Iyanze
  • Jerk Chicken – Iyanze
  • Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju
  • Chicken Ke-Bob Curry Rice with Vegetables – Kasia Deli
  • Black Bean & Cheese Arepa with Salsa Verde – La Cocinita
  • Chicken Taco – La Cocinita
  • Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s
  • Avocado Fries (V) – nana
  • Cauliflower Salad (V) – nana
  • Pulled Chicken Sandwich – Pork chop
  • Taste Portion of Grilled Chicken Satay – Star of Siam
  • Taste Portion of Pot Stickers – Star of Siam
  • Taste Portion of Pad Thai Noodles – Star of Siam
  • Reverse Coney (V) – Taco in a Bag
  • Taste Portion of Grilled Cheese (V) – The Fat Shallot
  • Taste Portion of Plantain and Jollof (V) - Vee Vee’s African Restaurant

Desserts – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

  • Taste Portion of Lemon Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Lemon Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Taste Portion of Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Taste Portion of Pineapple Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Pineapple Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Taste Portion of Peanut Butter Brownie (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Dinky Donut (2) (V) – Dinky Donuts
  • Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco's Ristorante
  • Taste Portion of Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante
  • Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco's Ristorante
  • Taste Portion of Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante
  • Lemon-Lime Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Mango Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Strawberry Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Taste Portion of Strawberry Paleta (V) - La Mexicana
  • Watermelon Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Taste Portion of Watermelon Paleta (V) - La Mexicana
  • Southern Red Velvet Morsel of Love (V) - Ms. Tittle's Cupcake
  • Mango Sorbet (V) - Star of Siam
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry (V) – The Fudge Pot
  • Frozen Mango Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Taste Portion of Mango Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Frozen Original Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Taste Portion of Original Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop

The following six items, provided by the restaurant Dia De Los Tamales, do not meet the Humana Healthier Choices nutrition criteria but provide options for Taste-goers with gluten-free dietary restrictions:

  • Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale with Cuban Fricase
  • Taste Portion of Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale with Cuban Fricase
  • Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale with Salsa Roja (V)
  • Taste Portion of Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale with Salsa Roja (V)
  • Buffalo Chicken Tamale with Blue Cheese, Shredded Carrot and Celery
  • Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Tamale with Red Pepper Crema (V)