How Super Is Your Food?

By Fabiana Santana

Super Foods rainbow colored fruits and vegetablesWe all know the importance of super foods in our diet. They are the foods that give us the most nutritional bang for our buck. And everyday we are learning more about the benefits of everyday foods that elevate them to super food status. Eggs, for example. We’ve always known they are a high source of protein, but new research tells us that when eating for breakfast, they actually promote healthy eating all day long. “Studies show if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels,” says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the New Food Pyramids.

So, I bet if you ask yourself, “Am I eating enough super foods?” you will probably say, “You’re damn right I am!” But in reality, you probably are not. Because a few almonds and a sprinkle of olive oil does not a healthy diet make. And that fruit salad for breakfast needs to have way more blueberries to qualify as a super food meal.

Super couple Jennifer and Howard Chung are the owners of Calista Superfoods in New York City  – a restaurant they created with the concept of incorporating healthful eating into everyday life.  Calista Superfoods offers 100% homemade and healthy casual food for people looking for something that can keep them on track but isn’t that same Subway 6-inch on wheat they eat every other day. Most everything on the menu, including the absolutely delicious “Jalapeno Bison Cheesesteak” and “Salmon California Roll”, clock in at under 500 calories. Even indulgences are considered – Calista makes a homemade brownie with a bit of protein powder and coconut instead of traditional oil and eggs. And cost is a definite a consideration.

“At Calista Superfoods, we make real food that people can commit to, because it’s delicious and fills you up, unlike other gimmicky ‘diet’ foods.”

“You shouldn’t have to earn six figures to eat our food,” says Howard. He was actually one of the founding partners in health food franchise Energy Kitchen, so he knows a thing or two about creating a healthy food menu for people on the go.

Jennifer  stressed how easy it can be to incorporate superfoods into your diet with a few simple changes. “Bison is something that is more readily accessible – I see it at my local supermarket, now. And it is so lean and a great alternative for big meat eaters.” Using healthful spreads, like their Mango Mustard Chutney, instead of mayo on sandwiches is another way to easily add superfoods into your day.  And adding the healthy grain quinoa into your rice or pasta based dishes is a great way to slowly start introducing it to your family.

Calista Superfoods boasts a decor that is as unique as its menu. Sustainable materials were used to make the walls and tables and create a sense of well-being, too.

“We wanted our guests to feel healthy and inspired from the moment they walk in our door, says Jennifer. “Healthy to us isn’t soley about counting calories – it is about embracing a lifestyle that gives us energy, helps us feel good and provides us with lasting physical health.” Jennifer wanted to create a restaurant that appealed to women, too. “Energy Kitchen was really focused on guys and the food was very plain and basic. Now that I am a mom, I don’t want to be very very hardcore  in how I eat. I can’t be thinking about it all day long, so if I know ahead of time that my choices are healthy, I can enjoy myself without stressing about it.”

Jennifer stresses that “gimmicky” food is not the way to go when chaining your diet.  “I will still cheat every now and then with a soda or something, but I find I want it less and less. Knowing I can have  it if I want, though, feels good. ” And as any woman knows, passing it up feels even beter.

Not feeling deprived definitely helps Jennifer stay on track. That is because when they remove a negative ingredient, they make sure you don’t realize it . Howard explains, “When you remove a negative fat, you have to add a positive one so that you are still getting the satisfaction of a fat. Avocado is a good fat substitution. Or if you take out a sugar, you have to add something to replace that component. Like mango.”

“It helps to take the edge off to know you are able to have a burger and fries but the healthy way,” says Jennifer. “You don’t want to always be counting calories and measuring things.

Because, after all, that’s math not eating.

Visit Calista’s two Manhattan locations at 301 East 49th Street and 1217 Lexington Avenue, or visit them online at

Jennifer’s Mango Mustard Chutney Recipe

This spread is great as a spread on sandwiches or on top of grilled meats and fish.

  • 1 cup diced fresh mango
  • 2 Tb honey
  • 1-1/2 Tb rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tb whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Simply blend and mash together.

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