May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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GranolaChik Embraces Good Taste and Clean Eating

Aimee Turner knows about the social nature of eating. The Englewood mother of three has always had people popping in and out of her house on Shabbat afternoons, and knows that everyone likes a snack to keep going. However, when her husband was diagnosed with an illness, Turner turned to the food in her house and decided to clean up what they eat. Without telling her children, Turner slowly got rid of certain snacks and gradually stopped cooking with dairy, sugar and meat.

While it was difficult at first, as “these are staples and foundations for almost every home,” Turner said she started to become more creative about cooking and the changes she made in her food. “I never made the changes in an outright manner,” she said, describing the alternative sugars she started using—beet sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, honey and other choices for sweetening food. She also made granola and cookies with new recipes. When Purim time came she made fruit and granola mix in mason jars, but it did not end with Purim. Friends kept asking for the granola jars throughout the year. Kids would come over on Shabbat and request the cookies too. “I realized I was sitting on a popular item,” Turner said. “I’m making them weekly and giving them out weekly. Maybe I should do something more with this idea.”

While it took her husband’s illness to bring about a change in her family’s eating, Turner is no stranger to natural and healthy food preparation. She grew up in the Berkshires on her father’s cattle farm. “I spent a lot of time there growing up eating literally from farm to table. My dad even shechted his own cattle and had the most beautiful vegetable gardens.” After getting married, Turner and her husband moved to Japan for his work in Japanese equities and her two boys were born there. The Eastern culture taught Turner about the medicinal qualities of certain foods and she learned firsthand about healthy use of sea vegetables from the Japanese society in which she lived.

“Until sickness comes into your home, you don’t realize that what you put into your body is the way it works. When I looked to fuel my body with the right food, I called on my upbringing and my time in Japan,” said Turner. “There’s only so much I can do. The rest is up to God.”

Calling these granola bark treats “GranolaChik,” in a nod to the main ingredient in her cookies, the name evokes thoughts of the natural, wholesome granola she provides.

For the past year Turner has been kosher certified by the Orthodox Union and can be found in major kosher outlets. Grand & Essex in Bergenfield, Seasons in Clifton and even Tenafly Farms and Glatt Mart carry her GranolaChik items.

She sends a huge shoutout and tremendous hakarat hatov to Kenny Yager of Five Star Caterers, who allows her to rent space in his kitchen in order to make GranolaChik products. She also produces a nut-free line so it can be brought into schools and ordered as part of hot lunch programs. “It’s so gratifying to see that when you give kids healthy and delicious food then they don’t look for other choices. Healthy eating and finding quality foods doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you eat,” Turner said.

Turner offers a variety of GranolaChik flavors, including Halva-flavored, pistachio lemon, coconut, cinnamon raisin and, coming soon, a jelly granola snack. Turner is also working on a healthy alternative to tasty and filling high-protein bars with clean ingredients that can even be taken to school.

Now Turner’s children are older and starting to spend more time out of the house, but she is pleased to see them making choices along the same design as her own household. She found that even away from home they seek out healthier alternatives to processed food. “When my oldest son was in Israel, he would buy salmon in the makolet to make his own clean food,” she said.

“When illness hits, you think, ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ but there’s very little we can do,” said Turner. These changes, though small at first, were gradual and impacted her whole family positively. “I have peace of mind knowing I’ve done something to help my family.”

�Enjoy GranolaChik products and be sure to follow them on Instagram (@granolachik) for the latest updates about their new flavors and products.

By Jenny Gans

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