This much is clear—consumers want healthy food choices. They also want meals that taste delicious and don’t add to the ever-expanding national waistline. For years that meant removing things like fat and salt, but functional foods— nutrient-dense ingredients that add benefit to a recipe—are giving a new spin to the “healthy foods” category.
- Use whole-wheat or ancient grains like quinoa to add fiber to breads, pastas, and salads.
- Vibrant-colored berries, hearty salad greens, and cruciferous veggies all pump up the vitamin and mineral content of a dish.
- Use naturally non-fat herbs and spices to boost flavor: turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, oregano contains bone building vitamin K, and fresh ginger calms nausea and aids digestion.
- Remember to use the good fats in avocados and nuts to keep recipes more heart friendly.
- Even sweet desserts can be transformed: add goji berries, acai, or cocoa nibs to dark chocolate candies.
Fall Fruits make healthy food choices
With all the talk about vegetables the past year, it’s important to remember that fresh fruits are also key to a diverse, delicious menu. This season, favorite healthy food choices like apples, cranberries, pears, and pomegranates are being paired with
more rustic, unusual ingredients such as currant berries, persimmons, and quince.
- Top warm oatmeal or breakfast quinoa with roasted quince, almonds, and cinnamon.
- Use finely diced Fuyu or Hachiya persimmons as a tomato substitute in fresh salsas.
- Wrap halved figs with prosciutto and blue cheese; drizzle with honey.
- Glaze chicken thighs or Cornish game hens with the deep red of simmered currant berries.
- Add pomegranate seeds to grilled cheese sandwiches for texture and flavor balance.
- Stir roasted cranberries into chicken or turkey salad; spread on house-made bread.
- Braise pork shoulder with quartered Gala apples, quince, and star anise; serve softened fruits and any juices over the sliced meat.
- Custard and currant berries are an English dream dessert—bake them in a flaky crust and top with a fresh berry garnish.
- Offer after-dinner teas made with persimmon-turmeric, pear cider cinnamon, and pomegranate-mint.
It’s vital to your consumers that healthy food choices are available. Consult a Nicholas and Company specialist if you have any further questions on integrating healthy food choices into your menu.