“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.” Deepak Chopra

Eating and living healthy is not just a change of life- it’s a way of life. But many still believe that eating and living a healthy lifestyle means giving up all things fun and tasty. That is very far from true! But it does mean balancing the “not so healthy” with the “healthy”, both in mind and body. It means taking the time to work out; it means taking the time to read ingredients in your food products; it means adding more “color” to your diet (the essentials- red, greens, yellows), and it means thinking healthier. We trap ourselves in this “I can’t, we can’t, it shouldn’t be” mind frame, and whether it’s eating healthier or thinking healthier- it all impacts our physical health. Drew Cerza- aka “The Wing King”, who has recently lost 40 pounds himself, has recognized this shift in a healthier frame of mind, and ultimately a healthy body.

Drew and the Buffalo Chicken Wing festival are partnering with BlueCross BlueShield of WNY for a “Healthy Changes Every Wing” contest. Yes the Wing King is going healthy (sort of). Ranging from healthy chicken wing recipes and sauces to a good chicken wing dip, people can participate in the contest or just attend this wonderful event and actually be able to eat something healthy! If you’d like to participate in the contest, click here to enter your recipe. Four finalists will be chosen to have their recipes judged by a panel at the festival. The winner will receive an on-air cooking demonstration and four Bills tickets. Chef Binks and the Healthy Zone with Dr. Alessi will be hosting the judging panel and the healthy chicken wing recipe winner. Also, for all those who can’t eat meat or are gluten free, there will be a vegetarian chicken wing option.

A Festival 12 years running, now with international acclaim, sees the need for healthier eating habits and dietary requirements. The world’s a changin’, and so is the Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival. But don’t fret all you carnivorous eaters out there; the wings that The Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival is known for will still hold the majority.  The fabulous crunch of the breading, the vinegar and smokiness of the sauce and the tangy sweet goodness of all the drippings will forever be part of this growing food festival, and what Buffalo NY is synonymous for. But for those who have never attended- out of worry for your cholesterol, heart health, or simply the need to eat healthy, now you can!

Among the 30 participating restaurants, one of which is an international restaurant from our friendly neighbors in Toronto, will be 15 new restaurants to the Chicken Wing scene this year. It’s a great way to introduce new talent, new flavors, and of course healthier options! I hope to see you all there, as I was asked by the Wing King himself to judge at this year’s festival.  I am honored to be judging the elite Restaurant Sauces Category. I’m thoroughly excited to be part of this event.

To all those participating in the “Healthy Changes Every Wing” contest, good luck and healthy eats!