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Comfort food made healthy | Business

Comfort food made healthy | Business

SALEM — Healthy food doesn’t just have to be protein bars and salads. Sometimes, it can be baked ziti, chili, and even a Thanksgiving dinner.

Transition Medical Weight Loss, an organization dedicated to helping its patients lose weight and keep it off, has partnered with Rig-A-Tony’s, a Derry and Windham Italian/American restaurant, to make healthy and delicious comfort food.

“When [patients] think of a diet they think salad and grilled chicken three times a day,” said Joseph Zucchi, the clinical supervisor at Transition Medical Weight Loss. “That’s not sustainable. You can have pasta and still lose weight.”

Medical Weight Loss Provider opened five years ago, and quickly began looking for a local restaurant as partners to bring proper meals and not just meal replacements to its patients. The clinic has a shopping area that carries more than 600 products, but for a long time the foods available were only meal replacements, Zucchi said.

Zucchi said they are trying to do more than provide their patients with a weight loss solution. Partnering with Rig-A-Tony’s meant bringing food to the clinic’s kitchen that wasn’t protein shakes and smoothies.

All of the meals provided by Rig-A-Tony’s are pre-portioned, Zucchi said. He also will calculate the nutrition facts for each meal to make it easier for the clinic’s patients to continue hitting their goals.

Right now, there are nine meals Rig-A-Tony’s dishes supplied to the clinic, including different soups, a healthier chicken salad made with Greek yogurt, a baked ziti dish, and a chicken cacciatore.

At Thanksgiving, Zucchi worked with Rig-A-Tony’s owner Lisa DeSisto, to come up with a calorie-conscious Thanksgiving dinner that featured staples like turkey, stuffing, and gravy, but also had a larger emphasis on healthy vegetables that still encapsulated the flavors of the holiday.

“We can make comfort food that still tastes good, and is a little healthier, and make it convenient for people,” Zucchi said. “We can help people not have this fear of enjoying food.”