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Healthy Dishes

Check how ‘healthy’ your menu is with our quiz Yes No

Delicious, desirable & healthy Welcome to Healthy Dishes It can be a challenge to meet the demand for healthy options out of home. Healthy food and drink options have held steady as an important trend throughout the downturn and is the number two demand of guests after ‘better value’* Some guests believe that healthy dishes can lack flavour. Keep this in mind for your menus so taste is never compromised. This will keep your guests coming back for more and your menu more profitable. There are lots of small steps you can take with your ingredients, preparation methods and a new menu items that can make your menu healthier and even more appealing. This first issue of Healthy Dishes contains practical ideas covering:

1) Do you have a least two salad choices?

20-30% of guests would be

willing to pay more if healthier options were available Economic US Research April 2010

2) Does your menu feature at least one fish dish? 3) Do you serve dishes with plenty of vegetables/fruit? 4) Do you use ‘low saturated fat spreads or margarines’ on sandwiches/bread/vegetables rather than butter? 5) Do you use lean meat in your dishes? 6) Do you limit adding salt to your dishes? 7) Do you limit adding sugar to your dishes? 8) Do you offer any wholegrain bread, pasta, noodles or rice options? 9) Do you use deep-frying techniques sparingly? 10) Do you serve at least one vegetarian option in each section of your menu? 11) Do you use dairy products with a lower fat content such as lower fat cheese and semi-skimmed milk? 12) Do you use a measurement to control your portion sizes? 13) Do you serve sauces separately?

• Making your current menu healthier • Making perceived healthy dishes more appealing • Catering for guests with allergies

The Unilever Food Solutions team of chefs, nutritionists and marketers can help you deliver the tasty, healthy and more profitable menus so you can stay ahead of the competition.

See how your menu performed. If you answered YES to… All 13 questions – FANTASTIC! You have your customers’ health interests at heart, read on for more great ideas. 7-12 questions – your menu is well balanced and your customers do have the choice of healthy menu options, but you could offer more. 6-3 questions – your customers may want more choice of healthier dishes and this demand will increase in the future. Time to put a plan in place. 2 questions or below – your menu could limit your appeal and needs to have more healthier options.



Your healthier options start here Here are some ideas that you can use today to make your current menu healthier




• Use fresh ingredients

• Replace products high in saturated fat such as butter, lard, suet, creamed coconut, ghee and palm oil with foods containing unsaturated fat like sunflower, olive, peanut or sesame oils, soft and liquid margarines and (low-fat) mayonnaise

• Increase the fibre content of your dishes by serving brown rice, wholegrain noodles and pasta and wholemeal or granary bread

• Increase variety and choice, offer healthy dishes alongside more indulgent options • Try to encourage portion control in a subtle way (e.g. ensure spoons and plates are not too large) • Serve dressings, gravies and sauces separately so your guests can choose the quantity • Encourage healthy choices by putting the most healthy dishes first in the buffet • Use different colours, shapes and textures to add excitement to your dishes • Offer colourful starters such as salads, soups and crudités

• For cooking use heat stable refined vegetable oils like canola, soy, corn, olive, peanut, soft and liquid fats and use a spray to apply them rather than straight from the bottle • Use light coconut milk instead of coconut milk or creamed coconut • Use lean meat such as roast beef, venison, pork tenderloin, lamb fillet, skinless chicken or turkey breast • Cut visible fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry • Use lean and fatty fish. Fatty fish is a source of good fat. Use shellfish, white fish such as cod and pollock and fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel • Try to use nuts, seeds and pulses as an alternate protein source. They are source of good fats and a cost effective alternative • Use low fat or skimmed alternatives of dairy products such as semi-skimmed milk, buttermilk, low-fat yoghurt or low-fat alternatives of cream, cottage cheese, ricotta, feta or mozzarella • When stir frying use a tiny amount of vegetable or sunflower oil, then add water to steam cook


Your guests want smaller or sharing portions that are fresh and nutritious with bold flavours Peach Factory Food Trends UK/US Research July 2010

• Add vegetables to your main dishes such as stir fries, casseroles and stews. This will add colour and help reduce costs on meat • Offer more fruit based desserts like fruit salads, yoghurts with fruit, or stewed fruit with spices • Offer a choice of potatoes not just French Fries. Try baked potatoes, new potatoes boiled in their skins and then lightly crushed, oven roasted sweet potato, or mashed using semi-skimmed milk, herbs and spices or horseradish for some extra flavour • Be careful with adding sugar, syrup and honey to dishes, use, 100% fruit juices or fruit purées instead

Salt • Limit the addition of salt during cooking. To compensate use herbs and spices that give a robust flavour. Add lemon juice or a little vinegar to finish seasoning a dish and a good pinch of black pepper instead of further salt • Be careful with products that are often high in salt such as soy sauce, anchovies, olives, capers, pickles, cheese, ham, bacon, yeast extract, processed meats, smoked meat and fish – a little goes a long way in terms of flavour 5

6. Mix lots of chopped soft During tough times, your guests are less willing to order salads. To justify spending they want added value and unique flavours that are difficult to make at home Technomic US Research

herbs together with some low-fat cottage cheese, part-skimmed milk mozzarella or ricotta and a small amount of mustard for a light filling for baked potatoes

7. For an Asian touch toss

chicken strips with salad leaves and dress with low salt soy sauce, mirin and lime juice

8. Use rice noodles instead

of pasta in salads – they add an interesting texture

9. Make an easy side dip

with fat free Greek yoghurt or low fat mayonnaise, lemon juice, ground cumin and coriander

10. Serve couscous steamed

with lemon juice and finished with lots of herbs (fresh and purĂŠed) for added flavour

10 ways to tempting salads Salads can be unappealing if they lack variety. New, inspired ingredients which boost flavour and make them more exciting help make salads a winning and profitable category on your menu.

1. For a Mediterranean touch roast peppers, eggplants, zucchini to give extra flavour boost and make more interesting

2. Toast seeds and nuts in a dry pan and

sprinkle on to salads for added texture and flavour. Try toasting with a little ground cumin or coriander

3. Halve tomatoes width ways, place in a

roasting tray, season herbs and spices, a little black pepper and some rosemary, then place in a low oven and roast for a couple of hours. The tomato flavour will intensify

4. Serve salads with hot ingredients tossed

with the leaves. Use steamed or grilled meat or fish – this retains the flavour without adding high amounts fat, and keeps the colour vibrant

5. Roast chunkily cut vegetables with

spices then toss into a salad for an easy vegetarian option



Starters • Soups are a great low calorie alterative that you can make with virtually any ingredient. Top herbs, seeds, nuts, fresh vegetables or low fat yoghurt • Salads are great starters, they help balance a meal, help towards 5-a-day and appeal to guests looking for a healthy option • Braise broad beans and artichokes in bouillon for extra flavour and as a low fat alternative (bouillons contain salt so cooking instructions must be followed) • W  hen creating risottos use less butter but flavour the rice by simmering in a full flavoured low sodium stock (stocks contain salt so cooking instructions must be followed to avoid over salting) • W  hen serving a carpaccio of beef, add flavour and texture with thin slices of beetroot

Start healthy, finish strong If your guests are value conscious it is starters and desserts they are likely to cut out.

76% of consumers said

starters must look and sound amazing and would appeal more if they included healthy options.*

25% of consumers in full service restaurants are looking for healthy options that still deliver on flavour.* For maximum appeal your starter and dessert menu should include indulgent AND healthy options. Here are some tips on boosting flavour, adding excitement and making them healthier.

• Excite guests by mixing tropical fruits with seafood. Try green papaya with shallots and prawns

Desserts • Use toasted wholegrain bread crumbs as a healthier topping to a favourite pudding • Make a fruit dessert with some stewed fruit, fat free yoghurt. Add currants to the dessert for sweetness • Use sweet fruit or raisins to flavour cakes and biscuits • Sorbets are light, quick and can give a real flavour hit. Try creating a fruit sorbet with an extra unusual ingredient such as tea. Try Orange sorbet with chamomile, or mango sorbet with Earl Grey • Offer puréed stewed fruit with custard or yoghurt • Garnish your desserts with fresh fruit and mint leaves. It adds colour and appeal

*2009 American Express MarketBrief – March



Focus on Allergies

Allergens An estimated 2-4% of adults and 6% of children are now suffering from some type of food allergy.* It can be difficult to create suitable dishes for customers with allergens. Here you will find practical tips to help you cater for these guests and give them the information they need to make informed choices.

What’s the difference between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance? Food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Allergic reactions to foods vary in severity and can be potentially fatal. Symptoms may include stomach upsets, rashes, eczema, itching of the skin or mouth, swelling of tissues (e.g. the lips or throat) or difficulty in breathing. Food intolerance is simply the body’s inability to digest a particular food, which is why it is important to be aware of common types of food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance. Symptoms may include abdominal cramps, bloating and diarrhea. Did you know? Many people think the terms food allergy and food intolerance mean the same thing; however, they do not. Food intolerance (e.g. lactose intolerance), unlike a food allergy, does not involve the immune system and is not life-threatening. Reference:




Individuals with food allergies need restaurants to provide them with accurate information about ingredients so they can make informed decisions about what to order. • Create a plan – who will answer guests’ questions regarding menu items? Some diners who have food allergies may call ahead to find out about menu options. Designate one staff member to whom such calls should be referred. – who will be responsible for checking the ingredients used in menu items? – how should staff members handle an allergic reaction? • Checking ingredients: chefs must read ingredient and allergen info for the products they use every time they prepare a food allergy order, because manufacturers may change ingredients without notice • Identifying allergens found in unexpected places: e.g cooking oil which is often used for many foods – desserts (may incorporate allergy causing ingredients like nuts, use fruits as an alternative) – sauces (contain many ingredients) – pastry-covered dishes (prevent the individual from making a visual inspection of the food) – buffet tables (possibility of cross contact) – Worcestershire sauce (may contain fish e.g. anchovies/sardines) – barbecue sauce (may contain allergens like pecans)


• Make your menu easy for those with food allergies to understand. Provide as much information as possible about ingredients directly on the menu. e.g Banana cake describe as Banana-Walnut cake

40% of operators identified ‘freefrom’ foods as an emerging trend Resarch Factory Trends Research July 2010

• In addition, you can also include a printed note at the bottom of your menu or on your website including the following. ‘For those who have food allergies, please inform your server. We will be happy to discuss any necessary changes’ • Keep printed materials and information on the website up to date • Avoid cross-contact (mixing a little of the allergy-causing food with otherwise safe food) while preparing and serving the meal e.g. unclean hands/gloves, shared equipment, utensils etc • Correcting a mistake in meal preparation: the only acceptable correction is to discard the order and remake it. Removing the offending ingredient e.g. scraping nuts off the top of an ice-cream or taking the cheese of a burger is no solution • If a guest has an allergic reaction do not be afraid to call emergency medical services Let all your team know about food allergens, give them this document to read, take a copy and pin it up on the notice board. 13

If you need to cater for a guest with an allergy it is important that you know where the allergen is most likely to be found. Here is a list of the most common, what types of foods you will find them in and tips on finding alternatives

The most common foods to cause allergies


Tree Nuts

In sauces, cakes, desserts, groundnut oil, peanut flour, peanut butter

These include almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts

TIP: Make sure you have an indemnity on your menu if you use nuts in your kitchen

Can be found in sauces, desserts, crackers, bread, ice cream, marzipan, ground almonds, nut oils TIP: S  ee Peanuts

Cow’s Milk In yoghurt, cream, cheese, butter, milk powders, foods glazed with milk TIP: If a recipe allows substitute milk with water, soy milk or in sweet recipes with fruit juice (guests allergic to milk may also be allergic to soy)


Crustacean or Shellfish

As tofu or beancurd, soya flour and textured soya protein, in some ice cream, sauces, desserts, meat products, vegetarian products

Such as shrimp, prawns, crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp paste TIP: When required, replace shellfish with a smoked fish that has a strong flavour

TIP: U  se rice flour and canola oil for baked goods

Eggs In cakes, mousses, sauces, pasta, quiche, some meat products, mayonnaise, foods brushed with egg TIP: S  ubstitutes vary by dish For baking try with mashed banana. For savoury dishes crumbled Tofu works quite well



Foods containing flour, such as bread, pasta, cakes, pastry, meat products, sauces, soups, batter, stock cubes, breadcrumbs, foods dusted with flour

In some salad dressings, pizzas, relishes, fish sauce and some soy and Worcestershire sauces

TIP: Those with a wheat allergy can usually eat rice flour, buckwheat flour, cornflour and maize flour

TIP: U  se mayonnaise as a base for dressings and use your own ingredients to create flavours

What is Lactose Intolerance?

What is Gluten intolerance?

Lactose intolerance occurs in individuals who lack the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest the sugar lactose (found in milk). Common symptoms are diarrhea, wind and general discomfort.

Gluten intolerance is caused by the body’s inability to break down gluten, a protein in wheat. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. Those with Celiac disease must eliminate gluten from their diet.

Can eat…

Can eat…

Soy milk, rice milk, dairy free cheeses such as soy cheese, soy yoghurt (note: soy is also an allergen)

Rice flour, buckwheat, cornflour, maize flour, flours from nuts/beans/seeds chickpeas, quinoa, and soya

Can’t eat…

Can’t eat…

Cow’s, Sheep, Goat’s (mammals) milk, some cheeses, dairy desserts, ice cream, butter, cheese, yoghurt

Gluten-containing flours, including: Wheat, Barley Rye, Oat, Malt, Couscous

The foods listed are the most common causes of food allergy worldwide. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 1995. 14


Advice on Food Labelling According to [fill in locally e.g. Codex Alimentarius/EU Commission] all the following foods have to be clearly mentioned on the label of pre-packed foods, even when present in very small amounts. • Celery • Cereals containing gluten (i.e. wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, camut or their hybrids) • Eggs • Fish • Lupin (a kind of legume of the Fabaceae family) • Milk • Molluscs • Mustard • Peanuts • Sesame seeds • Shellfish • Soya • Sulphur dioxide (used as antioxidant and preservative, e.g. in dried fruits, wine, processed potatoes) • Tree nuts • Also sulphite (in concentrations above 10mg/kg) need to be listed This information can help you identify whether or not a food contains an ingredient that you need to avoid. Sometimes small amounts of an allergen can get into a product by accident, even though food producers take great care to stop this happening. If there is a possibility that this could happen in a factory, the food label might say something such as ‘may contain nuts’.

We’d like to know what problems you face when it comes to creating healthy dishes so we can offer relevant advice to real-life issues. Visit and leave your feedback now. address to go in here

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