May 14th, 2012
Jeff Moskowitz is on a mission to make eating right easy. In 2008 he created Garden Lites, a line of frozen meals that are meatless, gluten-free and minimally processed. Now, Garden Lites is encouraging fans to go Meatless Monday with fresh recipe ideas on Facebook and Pinterest.
We had a chance to chat with Moskowitz about the promotion, find out how he creates healthy meatless meals and get a few expert tips for making delicious veggie dishes at home.
Why did you decide to start your own line of meatless entrees?
There seemed to be a need in the marketplace for an alternative to the typical frozen meal with a side of veggies thrown in as an afterthought. I love vegetables in any form and I thought if I put together dishes that my family and I love, made it convenient and priced it fairly that people would buy it.
Frozen dinners are usually far from healthy, yet Garden Lites manages to be minimally processed, gluten-free and diabetic friendly. How do you do it?
Our products are all about the vegetables. The core ingredients of any dish we are looking to create are vegetables, which are inherently good for you and naturally gluten free. So these dishes are healthy from the start;. our job is just not to mess it up!
Every day there seems to be more data showing how this country is gaining weight and becoming less healthy. Fortunately there is a growing conversation about the need to eat in a more healthful way, which includes eating more vegetables and less meat. We feel we are an important part of that conversation.
Tell us a bit about your “Gluten-Free Meatless Monday” social media promotion. Why is it so important to raise awareness about wheatless, meatless options?
First off, we are excited to be sharing the Meatless Monday movement to promote healthy eating! What we’ve done is created 4 new and exciting recipe ideas that are both gluten free and meatless, utilizing our Garden Lites soufflés as the main ingredient. We will post a new recipe every Monday for the month May and promote it on our website, Facebook and Pinterest page.
The gluten free community is confronted with a lot of prepared foods that might be gluten free, but are very high in fat and calories. We wanted to provide great tasting, convenient, fairly-priced foods that everyone can use to live a healthier life.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about vegetarian meals?
That you are “giving something up” by eating a vegetarian meal. That they are not flavorful. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Do you go meatless on Monday? What’s your favorite plant-based dish?
I do go meatless- and not only on Mondays! I would say I eat vegetarian about half the week.
My favorite dish is my wife’s Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna. Oh. My. God.
You have experience turning produce into healthy, flavorful meals. Any advice for readers who want to create their own “lite” dishes at home?
Go outside the box: it’s not as much work as you might think! Buy some pre-sliced butternut squash at the store, drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top and spice it with herbs. Roast that until it’s golden brown and you’ll have an amazing dish. Same with brussels sprouts (yes, I said brussels sprouts).
When you sauté something – I love caramelized onions – use a small amount of oil and cover the pan. The water from the veggies stays trapped in the pan and works wonderfully to brown your veggies.
Most importantly, have fun!
How can readers find out more about Garden Lites?