Taste of Chicago - Humana Healthier Choices

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Humana Healthier Choices program has guided festival-goers to healthier items available at Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest free admission food festival, for 10 years. Since its inception in 2008, the program has grown from 11 to 71 healthy dishes, reaffirming that eating healthy is possible – and delicious – for food festival attendees.

The 2017 Humana Healthier Choices – selected based on calories, saturated fat, sodium and ingredients by a panel of physicians and nutrition experts – showcases 71 healthy food options from 29 Chicago restaurants. Nearly half of the festival’s food vendors are offering the healthier items this year. To accommodate various diets, the list also highlights 17 vegetarian items and 16 gluten-free items—nine of which are also Humana Healthier Choices—available at Taste of Chicago.

“At Humana, we’re extremely proud of a successful program that has, over the years, become part of the festival’s culture and made Taste-goers more conscious of healthier food options available to them,” said Neal Fischer, M.D., Humana Regional Medical Director. “This is a continuation of the commitment Humana has always shown to the health and well-being of the Chicago community.”

Several local restaurants that have offered healthier choices since the program’s inception have noticed the crowds’ growing interest in making calorie-conscious choices at Taste.

“We’ve been part of the Humana Healthier Choices program since the beginning, and every year we look forward to participating,” said Chris Bober, owner of Kasia’s Deli, a restaurant involved in the program since the start. “We’re thankful to Humana for making festival-goers aware of healthier dishes they can enjoy, such as our chicken kebob, for the past 10 years.”

All restaurants participating in the 2017 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their dishes and nutritional details, including calories, sodium, saturated fat and ingredients, for consideration by Humana.


Below are this year’s Humana Healthier Choices:

(vegetarian option noted by a V and gluten-free options by GF)



Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

Beat Kitchen

  • Taste Portion: Veggie Burger (V)

BJ's Market & Bakery          

  • Taste Portion: Mustard Fried Catfish

Carbon Live Mexican Grill

  • Taste Portion: Grilled Chicken Taco

Farmer's Fridge

  • Chili Lime Watermelon
  • Taste Portion: Avocado Toast (V)


  • Ginger Garlic Wings

Lou Malnati's

  • Taste Portion: Malnati Salad (V)

O'Brien's Restaurant

  • Celtic Corn on the Cob (V)
  • Taste Portion: Sweet Potato Fries (V)

Brightwok Kitchen

  • Taste Portion: Chili Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl (GF)

Jin Ju

  • Taste Portion: Chap Chae (V)

Pork & Mindy's

  • Pig Candy

The Little Beet Table

  • Taste Portion: Cauliflower Hummus (GF) (V)
  • Taste Portion: Cucumber Gazpacho (GF) (V)

La Cocinita

  • Taste Portion: Chicken Tacos


Main Dishes

Less than 500 calories; 500 mg sodium and 4 g saturated fat

Beat Kitchen

  • Veggie Burger (V)

BJ's Market & Bakery                                                                                 

  • Mustard-Fried Catfish  

Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill                                                                              

  • Grilled Steak Taco
  • Grilled Chicken Taco                         

Chicago's Dog House

  • Taste Portion: Smoked Alligator
  • Mini Chicago Style Hot Dog

Doom Street Eats

  • Spinach Artichoke Quesadilla (GF) (V)

Farmer's Fridge

  • Avocado Toast (V)


  • Vegetarian Greens and Plantains (V)
  • Jerk Chicken

Kasia's Deli

  • Chicken & Vegetable Skewer w/Curry Basmati Rice

Lou Malnati's

  • Malnati Salad (V)


  • Pulled Chicken Sandwich
  • Pulled Chicken Slider

Robinson No 1 Ribs

  • Pulled Chicken Sandwich    

Star of Siam

  • Grilled Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad
  • Taste Portion: Pot Stickers
  • Taste Portion: Pad Thai Noodles

Ukai Japanese Restaurant

  • Gyza - Shrimp and Vegetable
  • Taste Portion: Gyza - Shrimp and Vegetable
  • Yakisoba
  • Tempura - Shrimp and Vegetable

Brightwok Kitchen

  • Tahini Ginger Tofu Bowl (GF) (V)
  • Taste Portion: Ginger Tofu Bowl (GF) (V)
  • Chili Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl (GF)

Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls

  • Lamb Shammi Burger

Jun Ju

  • Chap Chae (V)

Just Salad      

  • Thai Chicken Crunch Salad

The Little Beet Table

  • Cauliflower Hummus (GF) (V)
  • Cucumber Gazpacho (GF) (V)

La Cocinita

  • Chicken Tacos
  • Black Bean & Cheese Arepa w/Salsa Verde (V)

The Fat Shallot

  • Grilled Cheese



Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

Caffe Gelato

  • Taste Portion: Limone (Lemon) Sorbet
  • Strawberry Sorbet

Connie's Pizza                         

  • Lemon Italian Ice
  • Watermelon Italian Ice

Franco's Ristorante

  • Italian Lemon Ice
  • Taste Portion: Italian Lemon Ice
  • Italian Watermelon Ice
  • Taste Portion: Italian Lemon Ice

La Mexicana

  • Strawberry Paleta
  • Mango Paleta
  • Lemon-Lime Paleta
  • Watermelon Paleta
  • Mini Watermelon Paleta
  • Mini Strawberry Paleta

Star of Siam

  • Mango Sorbet

The Fudge Pot

  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry
  • Dark Chocolate Covered Pineapple

Dinky Donuts                         

  • (1) Dinky Donut

The Lifeway Kefir Shop

  • Frozen Mango Kefir
  • Taste Portion: Frozen Mango Kefir
  • Frozen Original Kefir with Blueberries
  • Taste Portion: Original Kefir with Blueberries


Fact Sheet

A panel of five top Chicago-area physicians and nutrition experts carefully reviewed each item to assure that nutritional values were met. The panel included: Kathleen Duffy, M.S., R.D., Diabetes Nutrition Educator, Rush Oak Park Hospital Diabetes and Endocrine Care Center; Neal Fischer, M.D., Humana Regional Medical Director, Medicare Operations, Great Lakes Region; Amy Hess-Fischl, M.S., R.D, Advanced Practice Dietitian and Program Coordinator at University of Chicago’s Kovler Diabetes Center; Donna Perisee, M.D., Ph.D., Humana Medical Director, Medicare Great Lakes Region, Health Services Organization; and Donna Prost, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, Adult Diabetes Education Manager, Amita Health Diabetic Education Services.

The Humana Healthier Choices food items are identified by a green “H” with a circular arrow around it and can be found on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths. The Humana Healthier Choices list will be handed out at the Humana tent, located on Columbus Drive between Jackson Boulevard and the Buckingham Fountain.


Humana Healthier Choices Rewards Program

The Humana Healthier Choices Rewards Program will provide Taste-goers with incentives to participate in a host of well-being offerings. After receiving a free Humana Healthier Choices Rewards tag, which comes with a lanyard for a hands-free and convenient experience, participants can earn stamps by sampling Humana Healthier Choices food items and by participating in healthy activities at the Humana tent.

Once Taste-goers collect six stamps, they can drop off their tag at the Humana tent to be entered into random drawings for prizes donated by Taste of Chicago restaurants. Prize winners will be announced at the Humana tent on the evening of July 9 at 9 pm CST.


The Humana Healthy Challenge for Charity with 93XRT

Humana, along with WXRT-FM, will host The Humana Healthy Challenge for Charity streamed live from the CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen on June 22 via www.CulinaryKitchenChicago.com. The challenge will feature a cook-off between Jeff Mauro, Food Network star and Executive Chef of Chicago’s Pork & Mindy's, against WXRT DJ Mary Dixon, a seasoned and triumphant veteran of Humana’s challenges at Taste. The two will compete to cook the “tastiest snack for your soul”; Mary Dixon will compete for the Beth Emet Soup Kitchen, while Jeff Mauro pulls for the Hephzibah Children’s Association in Oak Park. The judging panel will consist of local personalities, including WXRT DJ Johnny Mars, John Meyer, Chef/President of BJ Market and Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co.’s Carl Galvan.


Additional Offerings from Humana

Attendees are welcome to join in the musical-themed fun at the Humana tent – the “House of Healthy & Happy” – located on Columbus Drive between Jackson Boulevard and Buckingham Fountain. The tent will teach Taste-goers how to prioritize their mental health, as well as physical health, in an environment that showcases ways music can be incorporated into everyday life to promote peace of mind and improve overall well-being. Attendees can also reduce stress by coloring or doodling on Humana’s stress-free graffiti wall, which will be displayed at the tent along with a photo booth and trivia wheel.

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Humana Healthier Choices