A Healthier, Tastier Menu Your Guests Will Love

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Over the past decades, our dietary habits have become alarmingly unhealthy. However, guests are slowly becoming more aware of the importance of nutrition and looking for healthier food, especially when eating out.

This is good news for food operators because if you can provide healthy menus that taste good, you’ll get an edge over your competitors. Updating your menu with healthier options lets you appeal to a wider audience too. If done well, your improved menu will keep guests coming back for more.

One of the first things to do is to identify health signifiers for your food business. Different people look for different things in nutrition so understanding your market can make the transition to a healthier menu easier.

There are endless ways to provide healthier options and some of them may not even involve revamping your menu. Consider what kind of oil you use - can you switch to a healthier alternative? Simple changes in your preparation methods may be all you need.

Here are 5 key areas to focus on to help you create a healthier, tastier menu

Salt

#1 Salt

Most of the global population has too much salt in their diet. Although salt is essential to us in small quantities, it’s harmful in excess. Too much salt increases the risk of health problems like elevated blood pressure.

There are ways that you can limit salt intake while still delivering great taste.

  • For a bit more flavour, try using herbs, spices, a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar. Your dish will not only be healthier but also have an added layer of flavour complexity.
  • Make sure you’re seasoning at the right level. It’s easy to over salt in a professional kitchen as food gets seasoned at every step.
  • Use bouillons – they normally come seasoned and are an excellent way to control salt levels.
 
Salt

#2 Fats

Weight-conscious diners have always shunned fat because it tends to get a lot of bad press, but how much of this is actually justified? Fat has the highest calorific value of all food components but there’s more to that. Some fats are worse (saturated and trans fat) and some are actually good for you (mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids).

Build the good fats in your menu and limit the bad ones with these suggestions.

  • Replace saturated fats with unsaturated ones where possible – like butter with rapeseed oil.
  • Try different cooking methods that use less fat but deliver the same flavour.
  • Offer diners the option of low fat and oil based dressing rather than cream based ones.
 
Sugars

#3 Sugars

There are two basic types of sugar – those found naturally in fruits and milk (fructose and lactose) and those that are added to food (processed sugar). Strive to limit the amount of processed sugar you add to your dishes. The trick is to satisfy your diners’ cravings for sugar with natural instead of processed sugars.

Here are a couple of ways to offer less sugar in your menu.

  • Limit the sugary foods you have and offer more fruit-based dishes (tropical fruit salad or fresh berry jelly).
  • Add flavoured teas and infusions to your beverage range; they are often tasty without the need for added sugars or sweeteners.
 
Salt

#4 Calories

Calories are an essential source of energy for us to perform our daily activities. The human body is designed to burn the same amount of energy it consumes. The key here is to provide diners with the right amount of calories for their energy needs.

Limit the calories in your dishes with these ideas.

  • Use lean mince to make burgers and top them with less cheese.
  • Offer guests the option of skimmed milk as an alternative to full fat milk.
  • Use cooking techniques that don’t add more calories
    (e.g. baking, roasting or grilling).
  • Avoid using too much fat when deep or shallow frying.
 
5 Key Areas of Health and Nutrition

#5 Fruits & Vegetables

In the same way that a healthy diet is varied and balanced, eating from a good variety of fruit and vegetables is also recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. A good way of ensuring a healthy mix is by colour – the more colourful fruits and vegetables you eat, the more balanced a diet you’ll have.

Follow these tips to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your menu.

  • Introduce vegetarian dishes to your menu. Vegans are not the only ones ordering them, other diners will often see them as a healthier option too.
  • Replace your side of fries with fruit salads and use extra vegetables instead of starch.
  • Adding more vegetables can elevate existing dishes with additional textures and flavour.
 
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