How to Create a Restaurant Menu That Appeals to the Health-Conscious

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Every day, more people wake up to the importance of eating more nutritious food and looking after their mental and physical well-being. However, at the same time, people are eating out more than ever before and are therefore looking for ways to balance the two lifestyles. 

Create a Restaurant Menu

For this reason, restaurants and cafes are finding that they need to have food and drink offerings that facilitate these desires to attract health-conscious customers. 

From making minor adjustments to understanding the importance of purchasing products from the best meat suppliers in Dubai (or wherever your eatery is located), read on for everything you need to know to create a menu that appeals to the health-conscious.

  1. Look for Areas Where You Can Make Minor Adjustments. 

Before you start making any significant changes to your current menu, you first want to look for areas where you can make minor adjustments to the dishes you already have. This might mean using vegetable oil in your salad dressings, offering whole-grain bread instead of refined grain bread, serving smaller portion sizes and incorporating more fresh produce into your offerings. 

Similarly, you want to ensure that you provide your patrons with options to make their meals healthier. For example, suppose you have dishes that you generally prepare in butter. In that case, you may want to signify on the menu that it can also be prepared without butter, or with olive oil instead to make it healthier. Moreover, your chef may want to reduce the amount of salt, sauce, and cheese they use in particular meals. Finally, remind your staff to ask diners whether they want the sauce to be served on the side, as this is a common way to reduce calories consumed in a meal. 

Each of these adjustments can go a long way in creating a menu that appeals to the health-conscious diner as they will undoubtedly boost the healthiness of your establishment’s food.

  1. Create a “Healthy Eats” Section on the Menu. 

You want to make it easy for customers to find suitable dishes for their healthy lifestyle; therefore, it is highly recommended that you create a “healthy eats” section on your menu or develop a menu key with symbols to show the different options. Then, you can place these symbols next to the appropriate options on the menu. Depending on your offerings, you may also want to create separate menus for diners who follow a special diet, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. 

On your menu key, you want to select symbols that mark which dishes on the menu fall under these categories or can be prepared in such a way. For example, depending on the types of cuisine you offer, your menu key may include a symbol for “grill” that shows which dishes can be grilled instead of being sauteed, deep-fried, or cooked in butter. Likewise, a leaf works well for dishes made vegetarian, while a “V” can signal those that are vegan. 

Additionally, you may opt to include symbols that demonstrate sugar-free options, as well as meals composed of organic ingredients and whole grains. If your menu includes seafood, meats, and poultry, have a symbol that shows you can broil them instead of deep-frying or sauteing them in butter. Again, make sure your staff are trained on these different dishes to assist customers in finding the best meal for their needs. 

  1. Prioritize High-Quality Ingredients. 

No matter what type of cuisine you serve or how extensive your menu is, you always want to ensure using the highest-quality ingredients available to you. Not only will this aid you in creating healthier meals, but it also means that your dishes will taste so much better. The better the quality of your ingredients, the more memorable the dining experience will be for customers. 

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, you want to ensure that you choose seasonally appropriate options. These will always taste the best and can inspire you to try out different dish combinations. When purchasing fruits and vegetables, look, feel, and smell is integral to determining their quality. 

For meat and fish, you also want to be careful where you source. Look for the best meat suppliers in your locale to ensure that you obtain products from local producers. The best meat suppliers know how important it is to maintain relationships with farmers, so they go out of their way to check the quality throughout the process. 

You may also want to include leaner cuts of meat on your menu to give patrons more flexibility when choosing healthy options. Then, when thinking through your meat dishes and specials, you can brainstorm ways to keep these dishes healthy. This may include cooking the lean meat in healthier ways (broiling or grilling rather than sauteing or deep frying), serving light meat instead of dark meat, taking the skin off the meat, and offering red meat burger alternatives, including turkey and vegetable burgers.

Sourcing your ingredients locally through one of the top food companies in the UAE (or wherever you reside) is crucial to obtain the highest-quality products. The last thing you want is to have food shipped through long distances, as the quality will suffer. By working with local producers and food companies, you will be able to source products close to home and offer the most outstanding quality. 

Final Thoughts 

How you approach a more health-conscious menu will depend largely on the style of eatery that you run and the type of cuisine you serve. However, every restaurant and cafe can benefit from having healthy options and substitutes on the menu as they are a fantastic way to attract a more diverse clientele. Making small changes and re-evaluating the ingredients and products that you use is a fantastic step. 

Are you looking to attract more health-conscious diners to your establishment? If so, what steps are you taking? Which areas are you finding challenging? What have you noticed customers are asking for? Let us know your thoughts and insights in the comments below! 

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