Green cuisine

Diets don’t work, says chef Katie Cavuto Boyle, owner of Healthy Bites To Go.

Diets don’t work, says chef Katie Cavuto Boyle, owner of Healthy Bites To Go.

As this brutal winter fades and summer quickly approaches, gym treadmills and bike trails are suddenly seeing more traffic.

Not an exercise enthusiast? Getting beach bod-ready can be easy with Katie Cavuto Boyle’s market and café, Healthy Bites To Go at 2521 Christian St. At this green café, eating right never felt so good.

If you’re an aspiring Julia Child and a fan of all things Food Network-related, you may remember Boyle as a finalist on last season’s The Next Food Network Star.

“As a dietician and chef, I’ve found that one of the most successful ways to get my message of healthy eating across has been my involvement with the media,” Boyle said. “[The Next Food Network Star] really gave me a wonderful national platform to share my views and passions with the nation.”

Boyle is a registered dietician, personal chef and owner of Healthy Bites To Go. She is also the consulting dietician for the Philadelphia Phillies, and Healthy Bites To Go prepares the pre-game meals for the team.

Growing up, she was a gymnast for 21 years, focusing on gymnastics until she was injured during her freshman year at Penn State University. After her injury, she went to Europe for a few months to refocus and find a new hobby.

While in Europe, she fell in love with food and culture and decided to attend culinary school at Johnson & Wales University, where she received an associate’s degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in culinary nutrition. She then received her master’s degree in nutrition at Tufts University in Boston and became a registered dietician.

Originally interested in the science of nutrition, Boyle worked as a nutrition support dietician in an intensive care unit for the first four years of her career.

“I actually applied to [Physician Assistant] school because I thought I wanted to be a surgical PA, and two weeks before the program started, I rescinded and decided to start Healthy Bites,” Boyle said.

Healthy Bites To Go, which opened Feb. 19, uses locally produced food as often as possible. In addition to supporting local businesses, Boyle said she believes there are many nutritional and environmental benefits from eating locally.

“The second a piece of produce is picked from the mother plant, it starts to lose its nutrients,” Boyle said. “If it’s travelling two weeks to get from the farm to your plate, a lot of those nutrients have been depleted by the time you’re eating it. Plus, it’s obviously more environmentally-friendly.

“The average U.S. meal travels over 2,000 miles to get from farm to plate, and if we each ate one locally-sourced meal a week – just one meal – we can reduce our oil consumption by 1.1 billion barrels per week,” she said.

All Healthy Bites’ dairy products and most of its produce are from local farms including Lancaster Farm Fresh and Red Hill Farm. Healthy Bites also carries many locally-sourced goods including coffee, bread, maple syrup, honey, jam and peanut butter.

“All of the meat in the store is locally-sourced, and all of our fish is sustainable,” Boyle said. “If it’s not local, we make sure that it’s at least organic so most of the products in our store are hormone- and antibiotic-free.”

Although sourcing locally is an important goal of Healthy Bites, its goal is also to help people attain and maintain healthy lifestyles.

“I found working clinically that people knew what they should and shouldn’t eat, but they didn’t have the tools to implement it into their everyday life,” Boyle said.

To help people maintain healthy eating, she does in-home nutrition consultations and cooking classes and helps clients plan their menus by shopping with them. Healthy Bites To Go also offers organic meal delivery service and caters weddings and other special events.

“I don’t believe in dieting. I believe in lifestyle,” Boyle said. “The best advice I can give as far as living a healthy lifestyle is balance, variety and moderation.”

She said that diets often fail because people focus too much on cutting things out – primarily their favorite foods – and they lose motivation because they’re not enjoying what they eat. Instead of cutting things out, she recommends coloring your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables to get the most nutrients in your diet.

It’s also important to have balanced eating habits, enjoying foods with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Moderation is essential, she said.
“I think everyone needs to treat themselves,” she said. “Treat yourselves once in a while, but make sure you’re treating those treats as treats and not an everyday occasion.”

Kelsey Cruz can be reached at

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