Restaurants have different items on their menus to suit different kinds of customers. In recent years their has been a growing trend in the restaurant industry to offer healthier foods to follow the healthy menu trends spreading across the nation.
Customers are becoming more aware of the foods that they are eating and prefer it when their are healthier options on the menu when dining out especially during the week. Creating a healthier more appealing menu is relatively easy to do by simply swapping some of the ingredients and cooking techniques of your current meals.
Another increasingly popular menu trend is to add on calorie counts next to menu items. By seeing how many calories are in certain items customers can be persuaded to choose a better option, and feel better and more confident about their dining experience.
Where to Start
When you are deciding ways to upgrade your menu items into better and more nutritious one, you should think about some of the easiest and simplest changes that you can make first. Salads are not the only healthy option you can offer! Here are some examples you could use depending on the genre of your restaurant:
If you’re a sub and sandwich shop, think about ways to cut down on your breads laden with high calories and sauces. Offer a lighter bread, or make a sandwich “naked” by turning it into a salad. Sauces can be secret calorie bombs, so offer fat-free or light options. Italian restaurants can offer the option of whole wheat pasta to their menu, along with more tomato-based sauces. Adding grilled chicken, fish or seafood are great healthy add-ons, too.
Best Health states that normally, “When it comes to ethnic food, Japanese, Thai, Greek and Indian restaurants are often easier on the waistline than Mexican, Chinese or Italian establishments because they feature grilled meats, non-fried options such as fresh spring rolls and guilt-free dips like Tzatziki.” You can use these ideas, like grilled and non-fried options, at your restaurant.
Tips & Tricks
Making your recipes into a lighter version does not mean that you need to sacrifice flavour or taste, as there are lots of healthy ingredients that can be used! One of the most popular ingredient swaps is low-fat plain or Greek yogurt. You can use Greek yogurt to replace oil in baking anything, such as soups, mayonnaise, desserts, etc. If you are in need of cheese for your food, then choose a strong cheese like Gorgonzola or Bleu cheese. You don’t have to add a ton of ingredients to get the right flavor in your recipes!
Do you always sauté foods at your restaurant? A couple of tablespoons of the right kind of vegetable broth can be used to replace oil or butter. You can also use this method for stir frying or as the base of any sauce. When serving turkey or chicken, you must remove the skin first. Skin is one of the most flavorful piece of the chicken, but it is exceptionally high in calories. Making your own marinade for meats not only cuts down on cost, but lets you control how much oil and fat is added. You can find some great recipes using vinegar, citrus and fruit juices or wine for marinades.
Do you usually serve vegetables with butter or salads with the dressing already mixed in? You might need to squeeze out some citrus juice. This juice helps packs the flavour without cutting out those previously healthy options.
During the cold winter months, customers usually request bowls of hot soup. Rather than using evaporated milk, heavy cream, butter or cheese to thicken up your bowl of soups, you can add some pureed vegetables, such as chickpeas, carrots, or beans, to thicken.
For more on menu strategies have a look at this article Menu Pricing And Design Strategies