A game of trade-offs
In a typical restaurant meal, refined carbs and starches such as white rice, bread or pasta are being used. They are filling, but don’t offer many essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals and fibre. Instead, brown rice, ancient grains, and whole grain bread and pasta could be choosen as they contribute to dietary fibre and vitamins. They may also provide more satiety.
Vegetables and fruits are often absent from a typical dish, used sparingly or limited to a garnish. However, vegetables don’t have to be boring and can add value to a dish by filling out the plate and adding colour, flavour, and texture to almost any recipe. They are low in calories and add a lot of nutrients, so it’s ok to load up on veggies – aim for at least 50% of the plate!
Fattier choices of protein like beef, bacon and fried meats are staples in many dishes, but they can be very high in calories. Cheese is automatically added to many dishes, whether it’s sliced on a sandwich, cubed in a salad, or sprinkled on a soup or dish. Instead, lean poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins can provide the nutrients and satiety you need with fewer calories.
Finally, creamy sauce, dressing, butter, and whipped toppings are standard on many foods, upping the calorie-count dramatically. Instead, offer lighter options and healthier oils to provide the experience guests expect, and serve sauces and dressing on the side.
Read more about the increasing pressure from regulators and media on food service operators regarding their contribution to the rise in global obesity:
Oversized meals have been shown to be a factor in obesity (01.2019)
Larger portion servings in restaurants are a global issue (03.2019)
Fast food vs fast casual – Which has more calories? (02.2019)
Restaurants have gotten a hall pass on obesity and it must end (08.2018)
Death by diet: the race to transform the world's bad food habits (04.2019)