With the national spotlight increasingly focusing on menu labeling legislation, chefs at all types of restaurants and institutions are taking a second look at what goes into their food. Here are some fresh ideas for how you can promote and incorporate nutrition into your operation's menu.
For Restaurant Operators
Incorporate a weekly Healthy Special into your menu to encourage health-conscious eating in your restaurant. Add nutritional labelling to your menu so your guests know how to pick healthy options.
Conduct a Cooking Healthy Demo
Take some time to get out of the kitchen during an event and explain your food to customers so that they understand what goes into your food – and how healthy food does taste good too!
Incorporate New Ingredients
Branch out and cook with at least one vegetable that is not normally on your menu. Use social media tools like Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook to have consumers vote on a unique vegetable to be incorporated into your menu the following week. Exposing your customers to unique ways to prepare often overlooked vegetables will help them to think about incorporating more vegetables into their own diets.
Promote Your Efforts
Don't keep your efforts a secret! Promote your changes with T-shirts, buttons or other promotional items for all employees.
Decorate the cafeteria with posters and pictures of healthy foods. Use “Eating the Rainbow” or the Food Pyramid as a source of inspiration
Guess the Protein
Have a jar filled with dried beans and ask "How many grams of protein?" or "How many ounces of meat does it equal?"
Ask participants to vote for their favorite vegetable or fruit. Post a tally board to record votes.
Conduct a "Fear Factor" Event
Provide unusual vegetables and fruits cut into bite-size pieces. Offer an opportunity to taste and guess the food.
While the nation is focusing on Nutrition in March, these ideas can be incorporated year round. Your guests will appreciate that you are showing that you truly care about their health and well-being. Not to mention – you might stumble across a few menu items or ingredients that make it into the full-time rotation on your menu.
Recipes to Get You started
- Starburst Spinach Salad—Packed with fruit, eat the rainbow with your eyes and mouth in this refreshing salad.
- Flounder and Asparagus Rolls—Chef Lonnie brings us a healthy twist on fish - wrapping flounder around the veggies.
- Crepes Filled with Poached Peaches—Top these fruit crepes with vanilla yogurt instead of whipped cream to cut out fat, but not flavor.