Friday, June 26, 2015

Festival Report: Taste of Chicago Giveaway!

Among all the food festivals in Chicago, one of Brandy's all time favorites is the infamous Taste of Chicago.  The annual festival that takes place in Grant Park features hundreds of restaurants from across the city bringing their best crowd pleasing dishes to one spot for the masses to feast on.  "Like I always say, if you can't go to every eatery in town, let them come to you," as Brandy put it.

If there is one downside to the festival, its that with such an abundance of deliciousness, it can be easy to over do it.  The ice creams, the fried foods, the burgers... while delectable, it can all do quite a number on one's best intentions for keeping to a healthy diet.  Luckily, this year, perennial sponsors, Humana Healthcare, have introduced a way to not only satisfy the hungry crowds, but educate everyone on making healthier choices.  As an eight year sponsor of Taste, Humana showcases its commitment to lifelong wellbeing for all Chicagoans by providing the Humana Healthier Choices Rewards Program – an interactive experience that rewards attendees for partaking in fun activities and trying Humana Healthier Choices, a physician reviewed listing of appetizers, entrees and desserts at Taste all under 500 calories!

Though Brandy is well known as more of a proponent of what tastes good as opposed to what is good for one's body, she was delighted to learn that this year’s program features 48 healthy food options from 24 Chicago restaurants that meet nutritional criteria, even highlighting vegetarian and gluten free options.  The Humana Healthier Choices will be identified by a green apple on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths with a list of items being handed out at the Humana tent or downloadable at the Taste of Chicago website and via

All of the restaurants participating in the 2015 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their menu items for consideration for the Humana Healthier Choices program.  For an item to be considered, restaurants must have submitted nutritional details including calories, sodium content, saturated fat and the list of ingredients.  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.

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.  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.

Festival goers can also take a break from the July heat by enjoying a shaded seating area in the Humana tent, which will feature a backyard barbecue/tailgating theme, trivia wheels and a photo booth.  There will also be a Walk & Wellness Station where participants can take a free pedometer and will then be encouraged to return to the tent after walking around the Taste of Chicago to report their steps.

To celebrate this amazing program, Humana has provided Brandy with 24 food tickets for the Chicago Taste Festival to give away to one lucky reader to try out some of the Humana Healthier Choices themselves!  To enter the giveaway, simply follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below, then scroll down for a complete list of all the Humana Healthier Choices dishes being served at this year's Taste of Chicago to see what you could be snacking on in the near future!

Giveaway ends on 7/3/2015.  Tickets have been provided to the writers of this blog by Humana and Coyne PR.  Please only enter the giveaway if you are able to attend the festival in Chicago's Grant Park between July 8-12.  Any accounts entering the giveaway may be disqualified by the writers of this blog if they are deemed to be mostly promotional material, so please only use real social media accounts to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

· Taste Portion of Veggie (Vegan) Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen
· Taste Portion of Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market
· Taste Portion of Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s
· Corn on the Cob (V) – Mariano’s
· Roasted Celtic Corn on the Cob (V) – O'Brien's Restaurant
· Doner Shot – DonerMen
· Shrimp – Haire's Gulf Shrimp
· Taste Portion of Eggplant Sandwich (V) – Gino’s Steak

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

· Veggie (Vegan) Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen
· Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market
· Grilled Steak Taco – Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill
· Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill
· Smoked Alligator – Chicago's Dog House
· Smoked Rattlesnake with Rabbit – Chicago's Dog House
· Watermelon Hibiscus Gazpacho (V) – Farmer's Fridge
· Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer's Fridge
· Vegetable Spinach and Plantains (V) – Iyanze
· Jerk Chicken – Iyanze
· Chicken Ke-Bob Curry Rice with Vegetables – Kasia Deli
· Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s
· Grilled Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad – Star of Siam
· Doner Kebab – DonerMen
· Kebab Salad – DonerMen
· Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju
· Eggplant Sandwich (V) – Gino's Steak
· Chicken Tacos – La Cocinita
· Black Bean and Queso Fresco Arepas with Guasacaca and Cabbage Slaw (V) – La Cocinita
· Grilled Cheese (V) – The Fat Shallot

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

· Limone (Lemon) Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
· Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
· Peach Cobbler Gelato (V) – Caffe Gelato
· Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato (V) – Caffe Gelato
· Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco's Ristorante
· Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco's Ristorante
· Strawberry Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
· Mango Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
· Lime Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
· Watermelon Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
· Seedless Watermelon (V) – Mariano’s
· Mango Sorbet (V) – Star of Siam
· Chocolate Frozen Baby Banana (V) – The Fudge Pot
· Chocolate Dipped Strawberry (V) – The Fudge Pot
· 1 Dinky Donut (V) – Dinky Donuts
· Southern Red Velvet Morsel of Love (V) – Ms. Tittle's Cupcake
· Frozen Mango Kefir (V) – Starfruit Café
· Taste Portion of Frozen Mango Kefir (V) – Starfruit Café
· Frozen Original Kefir (V) – Starfruit Café
· Taste Portion of Frozen Original Kefir (V) – Starfruit Café

The following items, available from 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
· Taste Portion of Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale
· Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale (V)
· Taste Portion of Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale (V)
· Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Tamale
· Roasted Pepper Goat Cheese Tamale (V)


  1. I want to try the Mustard Fried Catfish and a Dinky Donut!

  2. Normally I'd say "bring on all the calories," but the watermelon hibiscus gazpacho sounds great on a hot summer day.

  3. Bring on the desserts! Gelato and chocolate covered fruits!

  4. I can't wait to try the avocado toast!