nina | July 10th, 2012 - 9:00 am

Round out your menu with better-for-you optionsMENU MIX. 

Round Out Your Menu With Better-For-You Options.

It makes good business sense to appeal to as broad of a diner base as possible—without sacrificing culinary vision. Today, more diners seek better-for-you options when dining out. Indeed, based on a recent Consumer Trend Report states 47% of consumers strongly agree that they want restaurants to offer more foods that they consider to be healthy and 33% say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers some healthy options, even if they don’t end up ordering a healthy choice. It is clear that consumers do want restaurants to offer healthy options—even if they don’t end up ordering them often or at all. Or they’ll use healthy options to integrate a healthy element into their meal, so a healthy side with a more indulgent entrée. 

So, revamping an entire menu to attract diners seeking better-for-you options is not necessary. 

Here are a few suggestions to add to your menu:
*  Offer Portion Choices.  Offer your diners full and half portions.  It’s a simple adjustment to the menu, and one that diners looking for smallerportions will appreciate.

*Add Whole Grains.  Diners are more familiar with whole grains than in the past:  quinoa, farro amaranth.  Cook them with stock and aromaticsfor added flavor. Add vegetables for color and texture.

*Look to Beans.  Beans are nutritious, inexpensive and satisfying.  They’re great under fish or other lean proteins.  As you reduce your protein size, beans offer value on the plate. Cook them with a flavorful broth. Use smoked meats and herbs to flavor, too.

*Make the Plate Pretty.  How wholesome food looks is half the battle.  Diners eat with their eyes.  Make the plate beautiful – layer ingredients on top of each other. Make sure you use vibrant colors: spinach, saffron, cranberries, for instance.

*Use Reductions as Sauces.  Instead of heavy sauces, consider making a reduction as your dish’s sauce.  For example, reduce balsamic vinegar,balancing it with a drizzle of olive oil.

*Go Local.  Local generally means seasonal, and seasonal produce is usually picked at its nutritional peak.  Nutrients are better developed thecloser the produce is to the vine—and the colors and flavor are at their peak, too.

Source:, 4.16.2012

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