Sunrise Chefs Face Off in Third Annual Senior Eats™ Nutritional Challenge

, Sunrise Vice President of Dining Services  |  September 14, 2015

We pride ourselves on providing an excellent dining experience and constantly look at ways to offer more variety to our menus. One of our many (and admittedly, favorite) ways to do this is by hosting our annual Senior Eats™ Nutritional Challenge – a friendly competition among Sunrise chefs to create a meal that is not only nutritionally sound but something residents will love to eat.

Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted their recipes this past summer, which had to fit certain nutritional criteria. We recently selected five finalists who will travel to The Fairfax, a Sunrise community in the Washington, D.C., area, where they will participate in a cook-off – with the winner decided by Sunrise residents and public guests! 
Here’s a look at the five finalists, the dishes they’ll be whipping up and their nutritional highlights:

Brian Amery, Sunrise of Wilmington, DE
Baked Cod with Local Peach Salsa

Cod is an excellent low-calorie source of protein with a 4-ounce portion providing nearly half of the recommended daily allowance for only 120 calories. Cod is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins B6 and B12.
Fresh peaches are a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C. Not only does vitamin C help the body resist infectious agents, but it is also a powerful antioxidant that removes free radicals from the body.

Andres Basto, Sunrise of Bluemont Park, VA
Mediterranean Chicken

Chicken is an excellent source of protein with a 4-ounce serving of breast meat providing 35 grams. Chicken contains all B vitamins, most notably vitamin B3, also known as niacin. Unlike beef, regular consumption of chicken has not been associated with an increase of colorectal or other cancers. In fact, consuming chicken regularly as part of an otherwise balanced diet has been shown to decrease total blood cholesterol levels and improve the quality of triglycerides in the blood. 

Curt Mayfield, Sunrise on Clayton, MO
Jersualem Salad with Chicken Shawarma

Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is a very good source of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron, and surprisingly, is an excellent source of calcium. In fact, a 2 tablespoon serving contains approximately 10% of the recommended daily doses of calcium. 

Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene plays an important role in bone health. A diet lacking in lycopene has been shown to increase the risk of osteoporosis. 

Stephen Worden, Sunrise of Braintree, MA
Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash & Rosemary Sauce

Lean cuts of pork are high in protein, low in fat and have more B-vitamins than many other teams of meat. B-vitamins play r ole in a variety of body functions, including metabolism regulation and energy production. 

Butternut squash, like other orange-fleshed vegetables, has high levels of beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, which the body converts into vitamin A and uses to protect cells from damaging free radicals.  Adequate intake of beta-carotene has been shown to reduce the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, certain cancers and macular degeneration.

Mikah Montoya, Sunrise of Carmichael, CA
Beef Chow Fun

While limiting intake of foods high in saturated fats is important, a small portion of lean beef can be very good for your health.  Lean beef is high in protein, iron, zinc and selenium.  Iron helps metabolize proteins in the body, including hemoglobin and myoglobin, both of which help carry oxygen in our blood.  Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen.  Zinc prevents damage to blood vessel walls and is also necessary for the immune system to function properly.  Selenium has been shown to reduce the severity of certain inflammatory conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.  

Stay tuned for the full recipes for each of these delectable dishes, available on the blog after the competition!